UC Health Program Tracing Cardiovascular Disease to Before Birth

A new program at UC Health is studying the potential impact of in utero conditions on future health events, specifically cardiovascular disease.in utero chart

UC Health cardiologists, obstetricians and maternal/fetal medicine specialists, along with pediatric cardiologists from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and researchers from the University of Cincinnati, are working as part of a multidisciplinary team within UC Health’s Program for Primordial Cardiology and Life Cycles. The group is studying and building upon the growing body of evidence that many common cardiovascular conditions result from not only genetic and environmental factors, but also from in utero conditions.

“A person diagnosed with atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, for example, may have been at risk for developing heart disease long before his or her diagnosis—perhaps even before birth,” says Richard C. Becker, MD, UC Health cardiologist, director and physician-in-chief of the UC Heart, Lung and Vascular Institute and Mabel Stearns Stonehill Endowed Chair and Professor of the UC Division of Cardiovascular Health and Disease. “Many other common cardiovascular conditions, including diabetes, hypertension and coronary heart disease not only have genetic and environmental determinants, but are also impacted by in utero conditions.”

The UC Health program comprises roundtable discussions among researchers and advanced specialists, including bioinformatics experts, who play a key role in constructing big data approaches, like mining de-identified electronic health record information to develop long-term assessments of cardiovascular events.

“From a public health perspective, it is a major benefit to the community and the region to have an academic health system focused on research which can respond appropriately to data, redefine the natural history of cardiovascular disease and implement thoughtful screening and preventive measures. That’s the academic difference.”

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