The clinical implications of cardiac dysfunction in COPD

Wednesday, 9 Aug 2017

Can you describe the aim of your research in 10 words?

Exploration of cardiac dysfunction in COPD and its clinical implication

What do you know/have discovered about this topic so far?

High levels of biochemical markers of cardiac dysfunction, natriuretic peptides and troponins, are common in patients hospitalised for an exacerbation of COPD and acute cardiac dysfunction occurs despite treatment of COPD.

Excessive use of beta2-agonists may play an important role in the pathogenesis of acute cardiac dysfunction during COPD exacerbations.

High cardiac biomarker levels are also strong predictors of early mortality and are associated with future cardiac hospitalisations.

These cardiac biomarkers in combinations with the clinical indicators of the severity of COPD exacerbation improve risk stratification of patients.

Current commonly used tools to assess cardiac dysfunction, chest x-ray and electrocardiograms, do not perform well against cardiac biomarkers in identifying significant cardiac dysfunction in these patients.

What aspect of this research excites you the most?

My research contributes to the changing paradigm and evolving understanding on the importance of cardiac dysfunction in COPD patients which contributes significantly to their morbidity and mortality.

Traditional treatment focusing purely on the airway such as beta-agonists may cause harm. Future research needs to focus on how this understanding changes treatment recommendations.

What’s your Holy Grail; the one thing you’d like to achieve in your research?

For my research results to be disseminated at a global level and incorporated into future study design.

What has been/will be your biggest hurdle?

Trying to complete my advanced training in Respiratory and Sleep Medicine and General and Acute Medicine at the same as doing research.

How long before your work impacts patient care?

In the centre I am currently working at, my work has been incorporated into routine patient care as cardiac biomarkers are routinely used to assess patients with exacerbations of COPD.

Hopefully with the increasing interest in the importance of comorbid cardiac dysfunction in COPD, this practice will be adapted elsewhere.

Who has inspired you and why?

My research supervisors, Professor Bob Hancox and Dr Cat Chang, because of their ongoing support of my interest in respiratory research.

If you could only keep three possessions what would they be?

My MacBook Pro, my iPhone and my Hugo Boss shoes.

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