European-North American Atrial Fibrillation Research Alliance (ENAFRA)

European Coordinator:
  • Dobromir DOBREV, Duisburg-Essen University (Germany)
North American Coordinator:
  • Stanley NATTEL, Montreal Heart Institute (Canada)
  • Maurits ALLESSIE, Cardiovascular Research Institute Maastricht (The Netherlands)
  • Ursula RAVENS, Dresden University of Technology (Germany)
  • W. Jonathan LEDERER, University of Maryland, Baltimore (USA)
  • David R. VAN WAGONER, Cleveland Clinic Foundation (USA)
  • Emelia BENJAMIN, Boston University School of Medicine, (USA)
  • Ramon BRUGADA, Montreal Heart Institute (Canada)
  • Sophie DEMOLOMBE, Institut de Pharmacologie Moléculaire et Cellulaire/CNRS UMR6097, Valbonne (France)
  • Patrick ELLINOR, Harvard Medical School, Boston (USA)
  • Stefan KÄÄB, University of Munich (Germany)
  • Paulus KIRCHHOF, University of Münster (Germany)
  • Ulrich SCHOTTEN, University of Maastricht (The Netherlands)

Atrial fibrillation (AF), a form of arrhythmia in which there is disorganized electrical activity in the atria, the upper chambers of the heart, is the most common cardiac arrhythmia, affecting tens of millions of people worldwide. Atrial fibrillation is associated with an increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease, and is an important cause of stroke, especially in the elderly. Medical treatments are often inadequate or have harmful or unpleasant side effects. While new and promising procedures, surgical and catheter-based, are being developed, the molecular and cellular basis of the arrhythmia is not well understood. Recent work on AF suggests that abnormal calcium metabolism within the cells of the heart’s conduction system may provoke AF, and maintain the arrhythmia over time. This multidisplinary Leducq network will focus on the role of calcium in AF, at the genetic, molecular, and cellular levels.  The knowledge gained should enable the rational design of effective treatment for this widespread heart ailment.