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  • 1 January 2023 to 31 March 2024
  • Project No: 72
  • Awards: Pump-priming Awards

Award Holders: Dr Alastair Webb, NDCN and Associate Professor Neil Herring, Dvision of Cardiovascular Medicine, RDM

This study will test whether increasing heart rate improves blood flow to the brain, specifically whether increased heart rate reduces how much blood flow to the brain fluctuates with each heart beat. This is strongly associated with damage to small blood vessels, stroke and dementia.

During implantation of a pacemaker in 32 patients, we will gradually increase heart rate determined by the pacemaker over ten minutes, up to rates achieved during a brisk walk. At the same time, we will use ultrasound to determine the direct effects upon blood flow to the brain, and its fluctuation with each heart beat.

This will test whether modifying heart rate in patients with a pacemaker, and potentially in other patients at risk of vascular dementia, may improve blood flow to the brain. If so, it may be a novel target for future trials to  reduce the risk of stroke and dementia.


Data showng whether increasing heart rate with a pacemaker reduces pulsations of bloow flow to the brain.