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Clinical Trials

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) is strongly committed to supporting research aimed at preventing and treating heart, lung, and blood diseases and conditions and sleep disorders.

NHLBI-supported research has led to a better understanding of how heart disease affects women. Research also has helped doctors learn more about heart disease, its risk factors, and ways to prevent and treat the disease.

The NHLBI continues to support research aimed at learning more about heart disease. For example, NHLBI-supported research includes studies that:

  • Examine heart attack risks and recovery in young women (aged 18–55)
  • Compare coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) with angioplasty and stenting in patients who have diabetes and blockages in more than one coronary artery
  • Compare CABG with medical therapy alone in patients who have heart failure and coronary heart disease (CHD)
  • Explore whether exercise helps treat depression in people who have CHD
  • Examine how CHD risk factors affect healthy aging
  • Use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to evaluate heart vessel function after angioplasty or stent placement
  • Examine the role that hormones play in women's heart disease risk

Much of this research depends on the willingness of volunteers to take part in clinical trials. Clinical trials test new ways to prevent, diagnose, or treat various diseases and conditions.

For example, new treatments for a disease or condition (such as medicines, medical devices, surgeries, or procedures) are tested in volunteers who have the illness. Testing shows whether a treatment is safe and effective in humans before it is made available for widespread use.

By taking part in a clinical trial, you can gain access to new treatments before they're widely available. You also will have the support of a team of health care providers, who will likely monitor your health closely. Even if you don't directly benefit from the results of a clinical trial, the information gathered can help others and add to scientific knowledge.

If you volunteer for a clinical trial, the research will be explained to you in detail. You'll learn about treatments and tests you may receive, and the benefits and risks they may pose. You'll also be given a chance to ask questions about the research. This process is called informed consent.

If you agree to take part in the trial, you'll be asked to sign an informed consent form. This form is not a contract. You have the right to withdraw from a study at any time, for any reason. Also, you have the right to learn about new risks or findings that emerge during the trial.

For more information about clinical trials related to heart disease, talk with your doctor. You also can visit the following Web sites to learn more about clinical research and to search for clinical trials:

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April 21, 2014