Heart Failure with Preserved Ejection Fraction (HFpEF) is facing more than 7 million patients in Europe and is the only cardiovascular disease with increasing incidence and prevalence. HFpEF is associated with poor clinical outcome and the underlying mechanisms and therefore treatment options are incompletely understood. To date no medical treatment hasshown resounding success, however exercise training seems to be the most promising way to improve symptoms in HFpEF patients. Structured exercise not only increased exercise capacity and quality of life but also showed an effect on cardiac function and structure. We currently perform the Europe-wide randomized trial OptimEx with the main target of evaluating characteristic patterns of HFpEF and to define the optimal dose of exercise training for patients with HFpEF. Due to the social, personal and economic burden of HFpEF there is a special need to use every possibility to better understand the pattern of HFpEF.

With the sponsorship of the IGSSE we enable doctoral students to work in an interdisciplinary team and focus on absolutely needed research in this field. The research objective is to analyse not yet approved parameters to define clear diagnostic criteria and accurate prognostic indicators forHFpEF patients. Regarding so far known pathophysiologic aspects of the disease, we will hereby focus on the role of new haemodynamic markers, vascular and endothelial mechanisms and molecular biomarkers.


Flavia Baldassarri, Edzard Schwedhelm, Dorothee Atzler, Rainer H. Böger, Kathrin Cordts, Bernhard Haller, Axel Pressler, Stephan Müller, Christiane Suchy, Rolf Wachter, Hans-Dirk Düngen, Gerd Hasenfuss, Burkert Pieske, Martin Halle, Frank Edelmann & André Duvinage (2018) Relationship between exercise intervention and NO pathway in patients with heart failure with preserved ejection fraction, Biomarkers, doi: 10.1080/1354750X.2018.1460762


Project team leader

Dr. med. Christiane Suchy
Prevention, Rehabilitation and Sports Medicine

Alumna Doctoral researcher

Flavia Baldassarri
Prevention, Rehabilitation and Sports Medicine

Doctoral researcher

Stephan Müller
Prevention, Rehabilitation and Sports Medicine

Principal investigator

Professor Martin Halle
Prevention, Rehabilitation and Sports Medicine

Principal investigator

Professor Ulrik Wisløff
Norwegian University of Science and Technology