Heart Attack Research

The NHLBI leads and supports basic research, clinical trials, and large long-term studies related to heart attacks. Our research has helped scientists and doctors better understand the causes of heart attacks and has led to improved treatment options for this condition. We continue to fund research to help find ways to prevent and treat heart attacks in all populations.

NHLBI research that really made a difference

NHLBI research that really made a difference

Most heart attacks are caused by coronary heart disease. The NHLBI-funded International Study of Comparative Health Effectiveness with Medical and Invasive Approaches (ISCHEMIA) trial compared various treatment options for coronary heart disease to prevent heart attacks. The trial found that in people who have serious coronary heart disease, medicine and healthy lifestyle changes are as effective as major procedures at reducing the risk of a heart attack. The results of this study will help doctors decide on an appropriate treatment option for people who are at risk of a heart attack.

Learn more about the ISCHEMIA trial: NIH-funded studies show stents and surgery no better than medication, lifestyle changes at reducing cardiac events.

Current research funded by the NHLBI

Current research funded by the NHLBI
A medical professional holding out a heart
Research Feature

Read about how the studies we support are showing the importance of healthy lifestyle changes to lower the risk of a heart attack: Small changes for a healthy heart.

Our Division of Cardiovascular Sciences and its Adult and Pediatric Cardiac Research Program and Atherothrombosis and Coronary Artery Disease Branch oversee much of the research on heart attacks we fund.

Current research on lowering the risk of a heart attack

The NHLBI supports several long-term studies to better understand the risk factors for a heart attack. These studies are exploring how lifestyle habits, heart and blood vessel diseases, stress, and our genes can raise the risk of a heart attack, and how these risk factors affect different populations. The studies we fund include the following:

The research we fund will help find effective and targeted ways to manage risk factors to prevent heart attacks. Data from these studies are available through the Biologic Specimen and Data Repository Information Coordinating Center (BioLINCC).

Find more NHLBI-funded studies on the risk factors for heart attacks at NIH RePORTER.

Current research on heart attack treatment

Find more NHLBI-funded studies on heart attack treatments at NIH RePORTER.

Current research on preventing complications after a heart attack

Find more NHLBI-funded studies on preventing complications after a heart attack at NIH RePORTER.

Heart attack research labs at the NHLBI

Heart attack research labs at the NHLBI

The Laboratory of Cardiac Physiology, within the Cardiovascular Branch, studies how heart cells get damaged and die during a heart attack and ho to prevent this damage. Researchers in this laboratory are also looking at whether different factors cause heart cell damage in men and in women.

Related heart attack programs

Related heart attack programs

The NHLBI created The Heart Truth® in 2002 to raise awareness about heart disease as the leading cause of death in women. The Heart Truth is focused on making sure that women know about their risk for heart disease and know that healthy lifestyle changes can lower this risk. The program provides free, science-based educational materials and information about heart-healthy living and coordinates activities for American Heart Month.

Explore more NHLBI research on heart attack

The sections above provide you with the highlights of NHLBI-supported research on heart attacks. You can explore the full list of NHLBI-funded studies on the NIH RePORTER.

To find more studies:

  • Type your search words into the Quick Search box and press enter. 
  • Check Active Projects if you want current research.
  • Select the Agencies arrow, then the NIH arrow, then check NHLBI.

If you want to sort the projects by budget size from the biggest to the smallest click on the FY Total Cost by IC column heading.

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