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Professor Barbara Casadei, a researcher on heart rhythm disorders based at the University of Oxford, has been recognised as a ‘Woman With Heart’ for her outstanding contribution to helping UK heart patients.

Source: British Heart Foundation (BHF) 

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) is profiling the work of 10 ten women who are making a difference to heart patients’ lives in the run-up to International Women’s Day on March 8, 2014.

Now the BHF is encouraging the people of Oxford to vote for Prof Casadei to help determine the nation’s favourite Woman With Heart at bhf.org.uk/womenwithheart. Voting closes on March 3.

Prof Casadei combines her role as a heart doctor at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford with pioneering research to improve our understanding of atrial fibrillation (AF).

Her work could lead to new treatments for people affected by this condition, which greatly increases the risk of heart failure and stroke.

Atrial fibrillation affects more than a million people in the UK. It's the most common arrhythmia - irregular heartbeat - which occurs when electrical impulses fire off from different places in the top chambers of the heart in a disorganised way.

Prof Casadei said: "Seeing something happen in the lab for the first time is exciting and hugely motivating. But working directly with patients means one keeps the ultimate goal in mind - helping people get better by developing safer and more effective treatment".

"The BHF funds my work but it's lovely to be recognised in this way too. More women are coming up through the ranks in cardiovascular research now. But it has traditionally been more of a man's territory. I'm glad times are changing. I hope women will aim high and be fearless career-wise, and look after their own heart health too."

Maureen Talbot, Senior Cardiac Nurse at the BHF, said:  “Women like Prof Casadei make an essential contribution to helping heart patients across the UK, whether they’re young or old, a man or a woman.

“However, many women and girls don’t realise they could be at risk of heart disease, which is why we’re using International Women’s Day to recognise the difference women are making but also to raise awareness of the fact they need to look after their heart health too.”

Heart and circulatory disease is the biggest killer of women in the UK. To help, the BHF has created a dedicated Women’s Room, an online hub full of information and support for women living with heart disease, or those worried about their heart health.

For more information about the Women’s Room visit bhf.org.uk/women

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