Research into people living in China, Brazil and Sri Lanka with a common heart condition will take place in Birmingham after £1.9million worth of funding was secured.
The money has been given to the University of Birmingham via the National Institute for Health Research Global Health Research Programme.
The work will focus on ways of preventing and treating atrial fibrillation – the most global common cause of an irregular heartbeat which increases the risk of stroke by five times.
Professor Neil Thomas, who is jointly leading the research at the University of Birmingham’s Institute of Applied Health Research, said: “A third of people with atrial fibrillation, and even more in low and middle-income countries such as China, Brazil and Sri Lanka, do not know they have the condition.
“To reduce the risk of stroke by around two thirds, patients with atrial fibrillation are given anticoagulant drugs to prevent blood clotting, such as warfarin, however under-treatment is common in these countries, leading to missed opportunities in preventing fatal and disabling strokes.”
The team plans to conduct two pilot research projects in each country, developing and adapting known effective methods to increase awareness and treatment.
Professor Gregory Lip, a leading expert in atrial fibrillation, said: “Our established group at the University of Birmingham has already successfully led changes in atrial fibrillation management in the UK, and in European countries with different healthcare systems, by promoting stroke risk assessment and enabling clinicians to initiate treatment in an integrated manner.
“Given the importance of this need, we plan to support our partners in China, Brazil and Sri Lanka to develop tailored research to improve the treatment and management of this condition in these countries.”