Advancing the Science of Myocardial Recovery with Mechanical Circulatory Support: A Working Group of the National, Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

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Abstract

The medical burden of heart failure (HF) has spurred interest in clinicians and scientists to develop therapies to restore the function of a failing heart. To advance this agenda, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) convened a Working Group of experts from June 2–3, 2016, in Bethesda, MD, to develop NHLBI recommendations aimed at advancing the science of cardiac recovery in the setting of mechanical circulatory support (MCS). Mechanical circulatory support devices effectively reduce volume and pressure overload that drives the cycle of progressive myocardial dysfunction, thereby triggering structural and functional reverse remodeling. Research in this field could be innovative in many ways, and the Working Group specifically discussed opportunities associated with genome–phenome systems biology approaches; genetic epidemiology; bioinformatics and precision medicine at the population level; advanced imaging modalities, including molecular and metabolic imaging; and the development of minimally invasive surgical and percutaneous bioengineering approaches. These new avenues of investigations could lead to new treatments that target phylogenetically conserved pathways involved in cardiac reparative mechanisms. A central point that emerged from the NHLBI Working Group meeting was that the lessons learned from the MCS investigational setting can be extrapolated to the broader HF population. With the precedents set by the significant effect of studies of other well-controlled and tractable subsets on larger populations, such as the genetic work in both cancer and cardiovascular disease, the work to improve our understanding of cardiac recovery and resilience in MCS patients could be transformational for the greater HF population.

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