Monday 22 March 2021. Healthy Life Webinar. What to do about atrial fibrillation?

Monday 22 March 2021. 4pm UK time.
Healthy Life Webinar 10. What to do about atrial fibrillation?
Professor Donald Singer, Chair of CVRT and President, FPM, London
Speakers include: New insights into atrial fibrillation:
Svetlana Reilly, Associate Professor of Cardiovascular Science, Radcliffe Department of Medicine, University of Oxford.
Discussants include:
Professor Bernard Cheung, Editor-in-Chief, Postgraduate Medical Journal and Sun Chieh Yeh Heart Foundation Professor in Cardiovascular Therapeutics, University of Hong Kong; CVRT Trustee John Jackson, London, UK – patient perspectives.

The Panel

Svetlana Reilly is Associate Professor of Cardiovascular Science in the Radcliffe Department of Medicine at the University of Oxford. Atrial fibrillation, the most common cardiac arrhythmia, is an important contributor to mortality and morbidity from heart failure and from embolic stroke in humans. In a study published recently in the journal Nature, she and her team have reported a new paracrine signalling system in the heart that sheds light on the mechanisms for atrial fibrosis, one of the most prominent features of structural remodelling in atrial fibrillation (AF). Svetlana Reilly, Stanley Nattel and her colleagues have shown that atrial cardiomyocytes produce substantial levels of calcitonin, a hormone previously recognized to be mainly generated by the thyroid gland. The cardiomyocyte-secreted calcitonin acts through the calcitonin receptor (CTR) in atrial cardiofibroblasts (ACFs) to prevent fibrosis. Importantly, disruption of calcitonin–CTR signalling leads to atrial fibrogenesis and arrhythmia. “Atrial fibrosis hampers AF treatment and predisposes to AF,” explain Reilly and Nattel. “Restoring the activity of the calcitonin–CTR axis to keep atrial fibrosis in check may open doors for new substrate-based therapies in AF.”

Bernard Cheung is Sun Chieh Yeh Heart Foundation Professor in Cardiovascular Therapeutics in the Department of Medicine, University of Hong Kong. He is a trustee of healthy heart charity the Cardiovascular Research Trust. He graduated from the University of Cambridge and was a British Heart Foundation Junior Research Fellow at Cambridge before taking up lectureships in Sheffield and Hong Kong. In 2007-2009, he held the chair in Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics in Birmingham. He heads the Division of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics in the Department of Medicine of the University of Hong Kong. He is an Honorary Consultant Physician of Queen Mary Hospital and the Medical Director of the Phase 1 Clinical Trials Centre. He is the Editor-in-Chief of Postgraduate Medical Journal. Prof Cheung’s main research interest is in cardiovascular diseases and risk factors, including hypertension and the metabolic syndrome. Bernard Cheung is also International Society of Cardiovascular Pharmacotherapy (ISCP) Governor for Hong Kong. ISCP Governors act as representatives for different countries worldwide to encourage local participation and contribute to the ISCP’s educational programmes.

John Jackson is a co-founder and trustee of healthy heart charity The Cardiovascular Research Trust. He was a human resource professional with his own HR consultancy in West London.
Following the development of atrial fibrillation, he underwent a triple bypass procedure at the age of 67. While the operation was a success it did not resolve his AF episodes and it took two further procedures over the subsequent 18 months before these were brought under control.  This included an unusual intervention to relieve stenosis in a pulmonary vein linked to the original surgery. During this time he experienced a range of pharmacological regimes.  He found the experimentation with beta blocker dosages amongst the most challenging having previously been a very fit individual.  John will be prepared to talk openly about his experiences and answer questions during the webinar.


Donald Singer is chair of healthy heart charity the Cardiovascular Research Trust. He is a Clinical Pharmacologist interested in new approaches to personalising medicine and in public understanding of health and drugs. He is President of the Fellowship of Postgraduate Medicine. He trained in renal medicine at the Royal Postgraduate Medical School, London and went on to become a clinician and researcher at Charing Cross and Westminster Medical School, St George’s Medical School, Imperial College at Harefield and Warwick Medical School. He has also worked as a clinical pharmacologist for Yale School of Medicine within US-AID and CDC-supported programmes in Rwanda.  @HealthMed

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