Gold Medal for treatment-changing research on ventricular arrhythmias

On September 1st 2017, Ida Skrinde Leren was awarded His Majesty the King’s Gold Medal for the best PhD thesis at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo in 2016. The medal is awarded to a young researcher each year for meritorious research at the university.

The title of Skrinde Lerens PhD thesis is “Ventricular arrhythmias in cardiac ion channel diseases; occurrence, treatment and risk stratification”. Her research has led to a change in the recommended treatment for catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia (CPVT).

In the first article, Skrinde Leren and co-workers showed increased risk of severe arrhythmias not only in CPVT patients, but also in their mutation positive family members. Thus, also symptom free family members with a known genetic mutation for CPVT should be given beta blockers to reduce the risk of life-threatening arrhythmias. The follow-up study showed that the beta blocker nadolol was more protective against arrhythmia than traditional beta blockers, leading to a change in the recommended choice of beta blocker in CPVT.

A third award-winning study was conducted on patients with long QT syndrome (LQTS), another cardiac ion channelopathy traditionally not thought to affect cardiac function. The results, however, showed slightly reduced heart function in patients with LQTS compared to healthy individuals.

Skrinde Leren’s supervisors during her PhD research were cardiologists Kristina Haugaa and Thor Edvardsen at the Center for Cardiological Innovation, Oslo University Hospital.