The American Heart Association has announced grants totaling more than $28 million to create a research network comprising six centers focused on understanding the causes of atrial fibrillation (AFib).
The network will include the Cleveland Clinic, where a $5 million gift from Sarah Soter, who suffers from AFib, and her husband, Bill, has established the Sarah Ross Soter Center for AFib. In addition, two grants were awarded to create Decision-Making and Choices to Inform Dialogue and Empower AFib patients (DECIDE) Centers — the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) - AHA DECIDE Center at the University of Utah, supported by a $2.75 million investment from PCORI; and the Joe and Linda Chlapaty DECIDE Center at Stanford University, funded by a $5 million gift from the Chlapatys. The couple also gave an additional $500,000 in support of collaborative research across all six centers.
The other centers in the network are at Boston University, where a research team will examine AFib risk and stroke risk in patients with AFib, with a specific focus on African Americans; Northwestern University, where researchers will explore how AFib develops and how it causes stroke; and Vanderbilt University, where scientists will test how inflammation may cause and worsen risk across patient populations.
"Establishing these centers with leading investigators from renowned institutions is an important step in discovering biological, genetic and behavioral connections affecting the occurrence and impact of AFib and stroke related to this common arrhythmia," said AHA chief science officer Rose Marie Robertson. "Bringing together the best science while empowering patients to be active participants in their own care should significantly improve the quality of life for those who suffer from AFib. Science saves lives, and we know how very personal this is to our donors and supporters — especially the Soter and Chlapaty families."