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URMC / Research / Our Impact / Cardiology

Improving cardiac care

3D heart

 

In-silico model of the human heart used to evaluate the effect of drugs on its electrical activities.

Our researchers have made some of the most important and long-lasting discoveries in the treatment and prevention of cardiac arrhythmias, sudden cardiac death, and heart failure. URMC scientists led the landmark study demonstrating that preventive therapy with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator or ICD – a device that detects potentially fatal arrhythmias and shocks the heart back into a normal rhythm – significantly reduces the risk of death in heart attack survivors. The finding changed medical guidelines nationwide.

In the 1970s, there were no treatment options for a rare heart rhythm disorder called Long QT syndrome (LQTS). Without appropriate therapy and lifestyle changes, LQTS leads to irregular heart rates, fainting, and sudden cardiac death. Today, thanks to 45 years of research conducted by scientists in URMC’s Heart Research Follow-up Program, there are multiple treatment options and more than a dozen known genes associated with the disorder, allowing for early diagnosis and monitoring.

New ways to identify and treat heart disease aren’t possible without understanding how the heart and blood vessels become susceptible to disease. Scientists in our Aab Cardiovascular Research Institute (CVRI) are dedicated to identifying how the cardiovascular system develops on the cellular and molecular level and how it responds to normal and disease-related changes. Shedding light on these processes will provide insight into new therapeutic approaches to treat diseases such as hypertension, coronary artery disease, stroke, and atherosclerosis.