About the Research
Researching risk factors in the quest for answers
Pulmonary hypertension (PHT) is high blood pressure between the heart and lungs. It is common, dangerous and under-diagnosed. Often, it is first identified during echocardiography when investigating complaints of breathlessness. Although not a diagnosis itself, PHT has many underlying causes. Finding and treating the cause has a major impact on symptoms and survival.
NEDA will obtain data from each digital echo laboratory across Australia, and create a secure database of these records. The information captured will enable researchers to identify specific echo markers and to study the risk of death associated with each form of PHT.
The primary objectives of the NEDA study are to accurately identify the risks of pulmonary hypertension and its various causes, including the impact of age, region and other factors.
Examination of individual echo markers for abnormalities and the associated risk of death will help researchers identify specific risks in pulmonary hypertension. The NEDA database will allow researchers to answer a broad range of other questions about cardiac disease, such as reference ranges for each echo measurement performed, associations between variables in cardiac diseases and other diseases.
NEDA will support the study of the complex interaction between alterations of variables and specific cardiovascular diseases. From this understanding, experts plan to generate automated reporting systems, capable of accurately generating reports of echo examinations automatically. Strides in efficiency, accuracy and standardisation of reporting should be achievable outcomes, among others.
Answering Research Questions
What is the prevalence and mortality of cardiac abnormalities identified by echo across the diverse Australian community?
What is the sensitivity and specificity of a series of echocardiographic markers in identifying each form of PHT, and can any simple measurements accurately rule in or rule out individual causes?
What is the prognostic value of specified echocardiographic markers in pulmonary hypertension?
What is the upper limit of normal (ULN) for each measure of right heart function, defined using a low risk group of individuals with no identifiable echo abnormalities.
Can “pulmonary hypertension decision trees”, used to automatically generate echo reports, be applied for each abnormality identified during evaluation of the right heart during echocardiography studies?
Specific Goals of NEDA Research
To determine the prevalence and mortality of each form of PHT across the diverse Australian community.
To identify the sensitivity and specificity of a series of echocardiographic markers in identifying each form of PHT, and whether any simple measurements accurately rule in or rule out individual causes.
To calculate the prognostic value of specified echocardiographic markers in pulmonary hypertension.
To determine the upper limit of normal (ULN) for each measure of right heart function, defined using a low risk group of individuals with no identifiable echo abnormalities.
To create “pulmonary hypertension decision trees” which can be used to automatically generate echo reports. These would be automatically applied to each abnormality identified during evaluation of the right heart during echocardiography studies.
Ground-Breaking Global Research
This study is the largest worldwide and will answer a number of important questions on pulmonary hypertension and risk of long term mortality based on abnormalities of various parameters measured during echocardiography.
Because of its size, the database will help researchers to revisit reference ranges used to define abnormalities, and to build associations between diseases and their effects on the heart.
The NEDA project has undergone extensive ethical review throughout each state and territory of Australia, and by the University of Notre Dame Human Research and Ethics Committee. The project has been approved by the lead ethics committee at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney, overseeing all Public Institutions operating under the National Mutual Agreement in NSW, QLD, VIC, SA and ACT.
Public Institutions not operating under the National Mutual Agreement will seek individual ethics approval as required. Private practices are covered either by the University of Notre Dame HREC or under their own local HREC and governance arrangement.
Approval to obtain linkage with the National Deaths Index has been approved by the Australian Institute for Health and Welfare (AIHW) Human Research and Ethics Committee. All research is governed by appropriate guidelines and the NHMRC statement on ethical conduct of human research.