Cardiovascular diseases continue to increase and are still the number one cause of death in Germany. They are often chronic and rob people of the most healthy years of life compared to other diseases. This means that more and more people are living for a very long time with heart failure, valvular heart disease or cardiac arrhythmias. The healthcare system and research must respond to this. The most important reason: people are getting older and older.
A survived heart attack or leaking heart valves often result in heart muscle weakness. Today, physicians can already stop their progression, but they cannot yet make a weak heart strong again. DZHK researchers are therefore looking for ways to regenerate the heart, for example by growing heart cells in the laboratory to replace the diseased heart tissue.
Congenital heart defects and cardiac insufficiency are the most common causes of sudden cardiac death. The underlying processes can be very different. Scientists are investigating the details of how this tragic phenomenon occurs, who is particularly at risk and how sudden cardiac death can be prevented.
Cardiac arrhythmias significantly impair quality of life, and in the case of atrial fibrillation, they can be fatal if a stroke occurs due to blood clots in the atrium. DZHK scientists aim to improve diagnostics and search for treatment options for patients who do not respond to current interventional procedures.
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