Vibeke Hjortdal says: “Congenital Heart Diseases are treated with good short-term outcome. Unfortunately, serious complications are seen when they get older. Fluid is filtered out of the blood circulation for the exchange of nutrients and waste products in the microcirculation. Lymphatic vessels transport 8 l of fluid back to the blood every day. Dysfunction results in fluid accumulation as seen in heart failure and edema and protein rich fluid may be lost in the gut or cause breathing problems in the airways. The lives of patients are troublesome and shorter. This project will identify how respiration and exercise can improve the lymphatic function and which medication can improve the lymphatic transport function. The brain is vulnerable in some patients with congenital heart diseases, and they experience psychiatric problems. This project will identify the type of psychiatric problems and in which types of heart diseases the problems are most pronounced and best helped.”
Vibeke Hjortdal is Consultant cardiothoracic surgeon at Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Rigshospitalet and Professor at Department of Clinical Medicine, University of Copenhagen.