BACKGROUND: The development of atrial fibrillation (AF) is a complex multifactorial process. Over the past few decades, much has been learned about the pathophysiological processes that can lead to AF from a variety of specific disease models in animals. However, our ability to recognise these disease processes in AF patients is still limited, which has contributed to the limited progress in improving rhythm control in AF.
AIMS/OBJECTIVES: We believe that a better understanding and detection of the individual pathophysiological mechanisms underlying AF is a prerequisite for developing patient-tailored therapies. The RACE V Tissue Bank Project will contribute to the unravelling of the main molecular mechanisms of AF by studying histology and genome-wide RNA expression profiles and combining this information with detailed phenotyping of patients undergoing cardiac surgery.
METHODS: As more and more evidence suggests that AF may occur not only during the first days but also during the months and years after surgery, we will systematically study the incidence of AF during the first years after cardiac surgery in patients with or without a history of AF. Both the overall AF burden as well as the pattern of AF episodes will be studied. Lastly, we will study the association between the major molecular mechanisms and the clinical presentation of the patients, including the incidence and pattern of AF during the follow-up period.
CONCLUSION: The RACE V Tissue Bank Project combines deep phenotyping of patients undergoing cardiac surgery, including rhythm follow-up, analysis of molecular mechanisms, histological analysis and genome-wide RNA sequencing. This approach will provide detailed insights into the main pathological alterations associated with AF in atrial tissue and thereby contribute to the development of individualised, mechanistically informed patient-tailored treatment for AF.
- Atrial fibrillation
- Cardiac tissue
- Postoperative atrial fibrillation
- Study design
- Translational research