San Diego

Researchers Receive $3.1M to Study Heart Condition

The pediatric heart condition, Tetralogy of Fallot, is a combination of four congenital heart defects and typically requires surgery before patients reach 6 months of age

An international effort led by UC San Diego and Rady Children’s Hospital researchers recently landed a $3.1 million grant to search for better ways of treating a pediatric heart condition.

They’re taking aim at Tetralogy of Fallot, a combination of four congenital heart defects. These defects cause oxygen-poor blood to flow out of the heart and to the rest of the body.

Those with the condition typically undergo surgery before six months of age, and then another treatment once a toddler. But interventions can enlarge the right ventricle in the heart, increasing the likelihood of heart failure.

The Cardiac Atlas Project

Under the banner The Cardiac Atlas Project, the researchers will round up biomarkers and other data to predict long-term side effects from surgery and potential for heart failure.

Besides reducing heart failure, the goal is to lessen electrical rhythm disorders and unneeded implanted devices or surgeries.

The project will run cardiac imaging data and clinical measurements from 1,500 children and young adults through machine learning and computational models.

Teratology of Fallot affects some 85,000 people in the U.S., making up 20% of congenital heart disease.

Leading the project are: Andrew McCulloch and Jeff Omens at UC San Diego; Dr. Sanjeet Hegde and Dr. James Perry of Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego, and Alistair Young of King’s College London.

“Cardiologists are often making decisions on patient care based on less than precise information,” said Perry in a statement.

The $3.1 million grant is from the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health. Previously the research group received NIH funding to study congenital heart disease.

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