Can damage to brain blood vessels explain symptoms of atrial fibrillation?

Cerebral vasomotor regulation in atrial fibrillation

James P Fisher (lead researcher)

Birmingham, University of

Start date: 01 March 2016 (Duration 2 years)

Dr James Fisher is working out if brain blood vessels are impaired in people with atrial fibrillation (AF), a common abnormal heart rhythm that increases the risk of stroke, cognitive decline and dementia. Understanding why AF leads to these conditions will help us devise strategies to reduce the risk.

Dr Fisher has discovered that the ability of the arm blood vessels to dilate, or widen, is impaired in people with AF. But we don’t know if brain blood vessels are also impaired – if they are, it may explain why stroke, cognitive decline and dementia are so common in AF. Regular physical activity can improve the health of the heart and ‘peripheral’ blood vessels, but we don’t know if this is true for brain blood vessels in people with AF.

In this project, Dr Fisher and his team will find out if the ability of brain blood vessels to widen and increase blood flow is reduced in AF patients. They will also examine if the blood vessels in the brain are healthier as a result of doing regular physical activity.

This research will reveal if brain blood vessels are damaged in AF and help doctors detect those most at risk. It will reveal if physical exercise could help protect people with AF.

Project details

Grant amount £155,944
Grant type Project Grant
Start Date 01 March 2016
Duration 2 years
Reference PG/15/45/31579
Status In progress

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