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First Mosaic laureate to gain doctorate for work on heart function

Dutch medical researcher Christiaan Tji-Joong Gan has established that patients with a high blood pressure in the lungs die because the right ventricle is not capable of pumping blood against this pressure. Further, the right ventricle needs a longer rest phase between each pumping phase. Gan is the first Mosaic laureate to gain his doctorate.

Although a lot of research is being carried out into the cause of high blood pressure in the lungs (pulmonary hypertension), little attention is being paid to the consequences of this for the heart function. Yet it is the heart function that determines the chance of survival. Gan's research reveals, for example, that besides the active pumping phase of the right ventricle, the resting phase is also affected. The right ventricle of a patient with pulmonary hypertension needs a longer resting phase than that of a healthy person and therefore fills up less easily. The administration of Viagra can shorten the rest phase and improve the active pumping function of the right ventricle.

The high blood pressure in the lungs also indirectly affects the left ventricle. As the two ventricles no longer beat synchronously, the right ventricle influences the filling of the left ventricle. Consequently, the quantity of blood pumped though the body decreases. Tji-Joong Gan's research has therefore demonstrated that high blood pressure in the lungs not only affects the right ventricle, but the left ventricle as well. Magnetic resonance imaging was used during the research. This technique enables the heart's geometry and functioning to be accurately determined.


Contact: Christiaan Tji-Joong Gan
Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research

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