Cardiovascular Medicine Research

Research in cardiovascular medicine at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) Heart & Vascular Center is marked by a history of medical firsts, including the first direct current cardioversion for atrial fibrillation, the first use of anti-arrhythmic medication following myocardial infarction and New England’s first fully-implantable hemodynamic monitor. With over 150 cardiovascular clinical research studies being conducted at any one time, there are opportunities for patients to participate in studies that may change cardiovascular care for millions.

Clinical trials at BWH have demonstrated that:

  • Thrombolytic therapy (clot-busting medication) improves a patient's chance of survival post-heart attack
  • ACE inhibitors stop the progression of heart failure
  • Aspirin is a first-line defense against heart attack in people at risk
  • Cholesterol-lowering drugs can be life-savers in patients following a first heart attack

Recently, researchers from BWH and Columbia University developed a microscopic medicine that could be used to help prevent heart attacks caused by atherosclerosis. Investigators at BWH have also just proven that renal denervation, a procedure common in 80 countries but experimental in the United States, is not effective in treating resistant hypertension.

Our scientists have identified the genes responsible for a variety of cardiac diseases, including hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, Holt-Oram syndrome and different forms of heart failure. They have also made significant progress towards the understanding of coronary and vascular disease, endothelial function, cardiac mechanics and heart failure.

In October 2016 it was announced that an international team led by Calum MacRae, MD, PhD, Chief of the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, has been selected to receive the One Brave Idea Research Award, a five-year, $75 million award from the American Heart Association, Verily Life Sciences and AstraZeneca to research genetic and molecular markers of heart disease. This is in addition to the over 150 clinical trials our cardiologists currently have in the research-to-patient-care pipeline, promising a brighter, heart-healthy future for millions.

Learn more about current BWH clinical trials that are open for enrollment.

Read about cardiovascular research in At the Heart of the Future, the 2016 report of the BWH Heart & Vascular Center. Access At the Heart of the Future 2015 report.

Read articles about heart disease and research in the BWH HealthHub Blog.

Visit the cardiovascular research site at Brigham Research Institute.

Support Our Work

Learn how you can support our cardiovascular medicine research projects.

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