Background: Nationally, symptomatic heart failure affects 1.5-2% of Canadians, incurs $3 billion in hospital costs annually and the global burden is expected to double in the next 1-2 decades. The current one-year mortality rate after diagnosis of heart failure remains high at >25%. Consequently, new therapeutic strategies need to be developed for this debilitating condition.
Methods/design: The objective of the Alberta HEART program (http://albertaheartresearch.ca) is to develop novel diagnostic, therapeutic and prognostic approaches to patients with heart failure with preserved ejection fraction. We hypothesize that novel imaging techniques and biomarkers will aid in describing heart failure with preserved ejection fraction. Furthermore, the development of new diagnostic criteria will allow us to: 1) better define risk factors associated with heart failure with preserved ejection fraction; 2) elucidate clinical, cellular and molecular mechanisms involved with the development and progression of heart failure with preserved ejection fraction; 3) design and test new therapeutic strategies for patients with heart failure with preserved ejection fraction. Additionally, Alberta HEART provides training and education for enhancing translational medicine, knowledge translation and clinical practice in heart failure. This is a prospective observational cohort study of patients with, or at risk for, heart failure. Patients will have sequential testing including quality of life and clinical outcomes over 12 months. After that time, study participants will be passively followed via linkage to external administrative databases. Clinical outcomes of interest include death, hospitalization, emergency department visits, physician resource use and/or heart transplant. Patients will be followed for a total of 5 years.
Discussion: Alberta HEART has the primary objective to define new diagnostic criteria for patients with heart failure with preserved ejection fraction. New criteria will allow for targeted therapies, diagnostic tests and further understanding of the patients, both at-risk for and with heart failure.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02052804.