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Understanding the impact of ultra-processed foods and diet on heart health, investigating whether AI can prevent a catastrophic heart event, and exploring the life-saving potential of a phone-sized defibrillator for community responders are just three of the many research projects awarded funding by the Heart Foundation. Read about some of the vital research we’re supporting this year.

Investigating the life-saving potential of phone-sized defibrillator

Around 1,700 New Zealanders die from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest each year.

Early defibrillation, a shock delivered to the heart, has been shown to improve survival. The FIRST trial investigates whether a new portable defibrillator accessible to community responders can improve survival.

Heart surgeon leading clinical research to prevent catastrophic aortic dissections

Cardiothoracic surgeon and researcher Mr Nishith Patel has been awarded the 2023 Foundation100 Fellowship from the Heart Foundation.

During the tenure of the fellowship, Nishith plans to better understand a life-threatening condition known as aortic dissection, which is believed to be more common in New Zealand compared to other countries.

The decline in heart disease has plateaued – is this due to changes in our diets?

The progress made with heart disease over the past 50 years in New Zealand appears to be coming to an end, as the decline in heart disease plateaus for the first time in decades.

Three researchers have been awarded funding by the Heart Foundation to investigate the impact of food on heart health and will dig deeper into the impact of different types of foods and diets and what can be done to reverse this unfavourable trend.

World’s best cardiology training benefits Kiwis

New Zealand cardiologists are once again heading overseas to gain experience and skills at world-leading international hospitals, with the support of the Heart Foundation.

Closed borders over the past few years interrupted travel but these training positions are now being keenly sought after again.

Love hormone oxytocin may lead to heart failure after a heart attack

Heart Foundation-funded research is investigating the role of oxytocin in leading to chronic heart failure after a heart attack and also studying the potential of an oxytocin blocker to prevent heart damage.

Oxytocin, sometimes called the ‘love hormone’, had been shown to have a positive effect on the heart. Now new research is investigating if it may actually have a detrimental effect after a heart attack and lead to heart failure.

New technology enables study of beating human heart tissue

Heart Foundation funding for a new tissue culture system will allow researchers to study beating human heart samples in the laboratory.

The system will be used to investigate the underlying mechanisms of heart disease and safely test the effects of drugs on the human heart.