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Abnormal heart rhythms in complex adult congenital heart disease

Dr Benjamin Moore, Institution: University of Sydney

2018 Health Professional Scholarship

Years funded: 2019-2021


Adults with congenital heart disease are predisposed to abnormal heart rhythms, or "arrhythmias", due to scar tissue in the heart muscle. These arrhythmias can lead to disabling symptoms, recurrent hospital admissions and even sudden death. Unfortunately, predicting and treating arrhythmias in this group is extremely challenging.

This research has two primary goals: firstly, to develop novel imaging techniques that can image scar and predict future arrhythmia development, and secondly, to evaluate the efficacy and safety of current treatment approaches for arrhythmias in complex congenital heart disease.

The resolution of cardiac MRI, CT scanning and echocardiography (ultrasound) has significantly improved over the last decade, with expanding uses in older adults with heart disease. We aim to apply the latest imaging techniques to the "atria", or top heart chambers, in congenital heart disease patients, to identify scar. This will allow close surveillance and early treatment of the highest risk patients for arrhythmia, as well as prediction of those who may fail standard treatment approaches.

We will then assess the safety and efficacy of current treatment options for arrhythmias: medications, ablation (invasive "heat energy") or implantable devices. This will be a multicentre collaboration, to inform future "best practice" guidelines in this unique patient cohort.

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