Cardiovascular disease

Although cardiovascular disease mortality rates are steadily declining, they are still the most common cause of death in most European countries, including the Czech Republic, where they are responsible for half of all deaths. Yet the Czech Republic lags far behind Western Europe. Compared to France, the death rate from these diseases is almost three times higher.

The most common cause of hospitalization

A significant underlying cause of cardiovascular disease is atherosclerosis, or the corrosion of blood vessels supplying the heart muscle. This leads to coronary heart disease, which manifests itself as a heart attack, but often also leads to heart failure. A second major source of disease is the ageing of cardiovascular tissues, characterised by scarring, deposition of abnormal forms of proteins in the heart, stiffening of blood vessels and deposition of calcium salts in blood vessels and heart valves. These often lead to cardiac arrhythmias, isolated systolic arterial hypertension, cardiac hypertrophy and valvular heart defects.

All these processes eventually cause damage to the heart, which manifests itself as chronic heart failure. In the Czech Republic alone, 230,000 people suffer from this disease and the number is increasing by approximately 20% in 15 years. At the same time, it is the most costly cardiovascular disease and the most common cause of hospitalisation in the internal medicine department. The cost of heart failure care in the Czech Republic is estimated at CZK 15-20 billion per year.

Despite significant advances, it is clear that the development of new therapies and drugs for the treatment of heart failure and other forms of cardiovascular disease is a priority for biomedical research. In
particular, the focus of development is on approaches affecting the bioenergetics of the heart muscle, interventions on neurohumoral interactions between the heart and kidney, and approaches affecting specific pathophysiological pathways leading to the development of this disease, both based on conventional drugs and interference with gene expression of molecular targets.