Cardiovascular Research: Past, Present and Future

Lorna R. Fiedler*

Cardiovascular Research: Past, Present and Future.

Cardiovascular disease remains a leading cause of death and significant burden on healthcare systems worldwide. This is surprising, given the explosion of research in this area in the 1970’s, and the fact that research output has continued to increase exponentially. The development and adoption of molecular interventions might therefore present the most fruitful avenue in providing the greatest impact on mortality rates. This commentary aims to reflect on the earliest documented studies of human cardiovascular physiology, to surgical interventions in the 12th, to the first molecular studies in the 20th, to current pharmacological treatments.

Heart disease is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. In order to maintain its ability to meet the metabolic needs of the whole body, the heart has an innate capacity to remodel in response to injury or stress.

Rather worryingly, the worldwide incidence of cardiovascular disease is predicted to rise from 17.1 million in 2004 to 23.4 million by 2030, and heart failure itself by 23%. This is at least partly due to more prevalent risk factors including obesity and age in an increasingly industrialised world. Thus heart research remains a very active and integral part of the study of disease pathology.

This commentary aims to document a (very brief) history of cardiovascular research from the 8th Century BC to the 20th Century AD and consider how this has shaped where we are today.

More substantial target validation and mechanistic information in multiple model systems will increase investment potential and inevitably benefit endeavours for research to impact on clinical practice. However, these approaches will rely heavily on the willingness of scientists to collaborate
and coordinate their efforts and expertise in a more logical and efficient manner.

Heart Res Open J. 2015; 2(2): 70-81. doi: 10.17140/HROJ-2-112