A/Prof Adil Rajwani is one of 11 successful 2022 Springboard Plus Grants recipients. Together with his team from the Acute Medical Unit at Royal Perth Hospital, their research project is Exploring the associations between bacterial pneumonia and new-onset heart failure.
Their exploratory work has been accepted as a manuscript by Journals of the American College of Cardiology: Advances titled Bacterial Pneumonia Is Associated with Myocardial Fibrosis and New-Onset Left Ventricular Dysfunction.
An abundance of epidemiological studies show that people recovering from pneumonia have a greatly increased probability of developing heart failure. While the reasons are not known, studies in mice have shown that pneumococcal bacteria can translocate into the myocardium, resulting in cardiac microlesions and fibrosis. However, this has not been studied in humans before, because cardiac biopsy is invasive and therefore not practical. In this exploratory study, A/Prof Rajwani and his team evaluated myocardial composition and function of 20 patients after recovering from community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) using MRI scans.
Image: Sample showing patient with fibrosis in their heart.
The 20 recruited patients, with a mean age of 58 years, were recruited only after thorough confirmation of no pre-existing heart failure or cardiac disease. In this small but very select group of patients, A/Prof Rajwani and his team found that the nearly 1 in 3 patients with bacterial pneumonia had evidence of heart scarring, with additional features suggesting that this was an acute occurence. While bacterial translocation cannot be proven to occur with biopsy of the heart, these data match those seen in animal studies, and A/Prof Rajwani and his team speculate that, if these findings are replicated in larger studies, this could potentially help us to start to understand why pneumonia is associated with increased risk of new-onset chronic heart failure.
RPH Research Foundation is proud to support A/Prof Adil Rajwani's ongoing research through the Springboard Plus Grant program.
Click here to read A/Prof Adil Rajwani's manuscript.