Denmark’s first research centre for arterial diseases

More than one-quarter of all deaths in Denmark are due to cardiovascular disease, and the number of people suffering from the disease is on the rise in many developing countries. Odense University Hospital (OUH) is intent on addressing this problem and has therefore taken steps to establish the first cross-disciplinary arterial research centre in Denmark, an elite research centre, which is to carry out research into a series of diseases and treatment options for hardened arteries and other severe arterial diseases.

What are the mechanisms leading to damaged or hardened arteries in some people? Why are diabetes and kidney patients particularly vulnerable to hardening of the arteries? What is the correlation between cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure? How do we become better at detecting and preventing hardening of the arteries, and which treatment is best suited for the individual patient group?

These are just a few of the many questions that the Centre for Individualised Medicine in Arterial Diseases (CIMA), a new elite research centre at Odense University Hospital, is to address.

Cross-disciplinary research

Research in arterial diseases is normally carried out separately by different hospital departments. However, if the incidence of cardiovascular disease is to be curbed, research collaboration must be strengthened across the traditional boundaries of hospital units.

Prof. Lars Melholt Rasmussen, Consultant, who is head of the new Centre for Individualised Medicine in Arterial Diseases, explained:

– Arterial diseases do not cause pain to the arteries themselves but to the organs that receive blood from the arteries, and this is why this type of disease is treated at the individual hospital departments responsible for the organs affected by the disease. However, arteries have the same basic structure and are affected by the same types of disease regardless of the organ to which they lead blood. Therefore, to study the arteries across different medical specialties is an entirely new but extremely relevant approach.

The specialties included in the Centre for Individualised Medicine in Arterial Diseases at Odense University Hospital come from e.g. the Department of Renal Medicine, the Department of Heart, Lung and Vascular Surgery, the Department of Endocrinology, and the Department of Cardiology.

– The foundation for the Centre for Individualised Medicine in Arterial Diseases is the hospital’s skilled researchers who have already made considerable advances in their individual fields of research. Furthermore, the University of Southern Denmark has a number of researchers with extensive experience from research in the basic physiological and molecular conditions in the arteries. The next step is that we become better at exploiting each other’s potentials so that we can achieve synergy benefits from our research, said Lars Melholt Rasmussen, stressing that the intention is to recruit even more research talents from all over the world to the centre in the future.

Most frequent cause of death in Denmark

The number of new incidents of hardened arteries, which is the statistically most common arterial disease, has actually dropped in recent years in Denmark. However, it is still the most prevalent cause of death in Denmark and the cause of more than every four death. Furthermore, in many parts of the world, the number of new cases of the disease is on a steep upward trend.

– If we are to succeed in further reducing the numbers, we have to come up with entirely new initiatives that can make us wiser as to the reasons behind arterial diseases, and to develop a more accurate diagnosis, better screening and more effective and tailored treatments, said Lars Melholt Rasmussen.


Prof. Lars Melholt Rasmussen, Consultant, Head of CIMA, +45 2442 2160 or +45 2115 8116.