Canon Medical supporting University of Exeter research into paediatric congenital heart disease

Collaboration includes co-funding a PhD studentship & providing echo equipment

Canon Medical Systems UK has announced that it is supporting University of Exeter research by co-funding a PhD studentship to research cardiac function and health and fitness in children with paediatric congenital heart disease. The aim of the project is to improve the understanding of the interaction between heart diseases and exercise and to improve and refine exercise guidelines for young people with congenital heart disease with the hope of improving the wellbeing of thousands of children in the UK and beyond.

The PhD candidate, Curtis Wadey, started in January 2020 and is working closely with Professor Craig Williams, Head of the Children’s Health and Exercise Research Centre (CHERC). Mr Wadey is also working with Dr Guido Pieles, Paediatric Cardiologist at Bristol Royal Hospital for Children and the Bristol Heart Institute. The CHERC team will have access to state-of-the-art Canon Medical echocardiography ultrasound equipment, as well as bespoke training and support delivered by the Canon Medical team.

“This collaboration with Canon Medical is essential to further the research in paediatric heart research,” states Curtis Wadey. “Canon Medical provide the university and our research group with the essential tools, support and financial backing to research children’s heart disease.”

“Having had the chance to work alongside Canon Medical for the last five years, we are really excited by this growing relationship and future opportunities, especially related to paediatric health care,” states Professor Williams. “There are few centres around the world dedicated to these topics and we are proud of this partnership.”

Mark Hitchman, Managing Director of Canon Medical Systems UK, states “Canon Medical is motivated by partnerships such as this one which we have valued for many years now. Taking the partnership to a new level to benefit the young, with known or unknown heart problems, is reward enough. However, working in partnership with great people and highly reputable institutions to improve the quality of life, improve life expectancy and even save lives is what really drives us. On that basis we are particularly proud of this collaboration.”

Mr Wadey is joined by two other PhD students: Dr Dan-Mihai Dorobantu, a cardiologist whose PhD is funded by the GW4 MRC Doctoral Training Programme; and Nurul Amir, a specialist in rehabilitation, based at the University of Bristol. Two experienced research fellows, based in Exeter and funded by Canon Medical and the charity Heart Research UK, will join the team later this year.

The aim of the University of Exeter research unit has always been to raise the profile of children’s health and wellbeing both nationally and internationally. This includes creating awareness about the health risks of children’s inactivity, working on the prevention of cardiovascular diseases in school-aged children or advancing the knowledge of exercise benefits for children with chronic medical conditions. Another of the research unit’s main focuses has also been investigating the health and wellbeing of young athletes, which led to a fruitful first collaboration with Canon Medical, the Bristol Heart Institute and the youth division of Manchester United Football Academy, to investigate the physiology of the young athlete’s heart.

Professor Craig Williams, Director of the Children’s Health & Exercise Research Centre (CHERC); Tim Palarm, Regional Manager, Canon Medical Systems UK; and Curtis Wadey, PhD student at the University of Exeter.