Serial Evaluation of Cardiac and Vascular Function in Preeclampsia: Full Recovery or Persistent LV Contractile Impairment?

Research Opportunity
PhD, Masters by Research
Medicine and Radiology
Western Health
Primary Supervisor Email Number Webpage
Professor Joanne Said Personal web page
Co-supervisor Email Number Webpage
A/Professor Chris Neil Personal web page

Project Details

Preeclampsia is a common disorder, which is increasingly believed to result in long term cardiovascular risk. In this case-control study, we propose to evaluate cardiac and cardiovascular function serially in patients presenting with preclampsia (n = 25, standard research definition; 36-40 weeks) and control patients enrolled during pregnancy (n = 25; 36-40 weeks). The time points of testing will be weekly until pregnancy, repeated at two weeks and 3 months post-partum. The methods of evaluation will utilize equipment currently owned by the Neil/Allen group, including (i) echocardiography with 2D speckle tracking and LV global longitudinal strain (GLS), (ii) impedance cardiography (ICG, PhysioFlow®) with simultaneous non-invasive blood pressure will be performed in order to assess haemodynamic status including cardiac output and systemic vascular resistance and (iii) arterial stiffness will be evaluated using the SphygmoCor®. Relevant blood biomarkers will also be measured serially: these will not be standard of care tests, but will include high sensitivity troponin and B-type natriuretic peptide (a marker of LV strain), as well as markers of vascular function (e.g ADMA, homocysteine) and taurine (proposed relevant factor). The advantage of this study will be the ability to compare cardiac functional impairment (GLS) with simultaneous measures of arterial function/vasoconstriction and afterload, which will be important for determining whether LV impairment is secondary to adverse loading conditions, versus due to a primary cardiac condition. Cardiac biomarkers will be used to evaluate the relationship of acute injury with long term impairment. This case-control study will provide unprecedented insight into cardiac and haemodynamic/vascular function over time, which has relevance to emerging ideas about the long term cardiovascular risk in patients with preeclampsia. This project is suitable for a student who wishes to experience a combination of fetal medicine and cardiovascular research in a clinical environment. The project is furthermore advantageous for those applicants who may wish to pursue hospital-based employment in the long term or as a prelude to a further study in biomedicine.

School Research Themes

Cardiometabolic , Women's Health

Research Opportunities

PhD, Masters by Research
Students who are interested in joining this project will need to consider their elegibility as well as other requirements before contacting the supervisor of this research

Graduate Research application

Honours application

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact a supervisor.


Medicine and Radiology

Research Node

Western Health

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