Northwestern Medicine Cardiologist Awarded American Heart Association Grant to Study Post-Menopausal Women and Heart Failure

Northwestern Medicine
Clinical Trials and Research May 23, 2016
Northwestern Medicine cardiologist Dr. Sanjiv Shah
Northwestern Medicine cardiologist Dr. Sanjiv Shah’s work studying why post-menopausal women are at increased risk for a specific type of heart failure was recently awarded an American Heart Association grant.
Shah studies heart failure with preserved ejection fraction, a common but complex and little understood heart condition for which there are no proven effective therapies to prevent or treat. The American Heart Association calls it “arguably one of the most significant unmet needs in cardiovascular medicine.”
Shah is director of the Heart Failure with Preserved Ejection Fraction Program at the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute, a top-ten nationally ranked cardiac and cardiac surgery program at Northwestern Medicine. 

Heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF, pronounced “huff-puff”) is a major cause of shortness of breath and hospitalization in older patients, especially post-menopausal women. According to Shah, understanding why women are more susceptible to this type of heart failure may be the key in unlocking the biological secrets underlying HFpEF. Currently, there are no approved therapies for HFpEF, so there is a major pressing need to understand the basic mechanisms behind why the heart and other organs are not working in this disorder.
Through the grant, Shah will be working with other investigators at Johns Hopkins University as part of the American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women Research Network, comprised of five research centers that make up the newest AHA Strategically Focused Research Networks. Each research institution is focused on a specific area of heart disease and/or stroke, and each was awarded approximately $4 million dollars.
The American Heart Association grant will allow Dr. Shah to leverage his leading HFpEF clinical program (the first of its kind worldwide) to study the molecular underpinnings behind this disease in older, post-menopausal women, who are often overlooked and ignored. In addition, Shah’s grant will include 2 small clinical trials of novel treatment options for these patients. If successful, these clinical trials could be expanded to larger numbers of patients and may change the way we women with HFpEF are treated, allowing them to live healthier, longer lives. 
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