Home Heart Transplant Cleveland Clinic researcher receives $2.8 million to improve heart transplant outcomes

Cleveland Clinic researcher receives $2.8 million to improve heart transplant outcomes

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The National Institutes of Health has awarded Cleveland Clinic researcher Dr. Eileen Hsich a $2.8 million grant to evaluate the disparities in survival among heart failure patients before and after heart transplantation.

The four-year grant also supports the creation of tools that would help improve those outcomes, according to a news release.

"We believe that to improve care for those with heart failure awaiting transplant, we must better understand how differences among patients affect the timing of transplants and survival," Hsich said in a prepared statement. "With this knowledge, we can create innovative models that can help physicians decide the best time for individual patients to be transplanted. The findings from these research projects will hopefully lay the groundwork for a dynamic and improved way to allocate hearts in the future."

The grant will support three research projects that build upon other studies by Hsich, according to the release:

  • Researchers will use the national Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients (SRTR) to identify key risk factors and quantify how interactions among them directly affect differences in survival rates.
  • With data from Cleveland Clinic and four other institutions, the research team will develop a method to update risk of death on the national heart transplant waiting list so clinicians caring for these patients are alerted to the patient's changing condition. The other institutions participating are Northwestern University, University of Pennsylvania, University of Pittsburgh and Duke University Medical Center.
  • Hsich and her co-principal investigator, Hemant Ishwaran, director of statistical methodology at the University of Miami Health System, will use data from the first two projects to develop statistical models that estimate risk of waiting list mortality, time to transplantation and death after transplantation, allowing physicians to better estimate the best timing for transplant as a patient's condition changes.

Heart failure affects 6.5 million Americans, many of whom need advanced care such as circulatory support devices or transplant, according to the release. There are about 4,000 patients awaiting heart transplants. Due to a shortage of organs, people die every year waiting for a heart. Last year, surgeons performed about 3,200 heart transplants, according to the release.

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