Scientific research

In 2009 the Centre for Cardiovascular Diseases cluster was founded at UZ Brussel, grouping the Cardiology, Cardiac Surgery, Heart Rhythm Management Centre and Vascular Surgery Departments. The aim is to optimise clinical care for patients suffering from cardiovascular diseases.

The CHVZ Research Group was established in 2010 with the aim of grouping research into four main research lines, for clinical, fundamental and translational research purposes.

  • Cardiac imaging for a better understanding of cardiovascular diseases.
  • Ion channel disorders: from genetics to the clinic.
  • Clinical pharmacology.
  • Medical IT.


The CHVZ research group is a young group without a "research tradition" at the Vrije Universiteit Brussels. For this reason and to optimise the return on investment for VUB the group chose to conclude some collaboration agreements with two other research groups.

For cardiac imaging (led by Prof. G. Van Camp), cooperation is organised with BEFY (Medical Imaging & Physical Sciences) and more specifically with the ICMI (In vivo Cellular and Molecular Imaging Lab).

The goals were to elucidate the mechanisms of "drug induced valvulopathy" and to define the determining factors for the evolution from aortic valve sclerosis to aortic valve stenosis. A new goal is the imaging of the vulnerable plaque using nanobodies and fluorescence techniques in an animal model, with the option of implementing it in the clinic.

For ion channel disorders (led by Prof. P. Brugada) the emphasis was initially placed on the clinical presentation and treatment of these diseases.

Atrial fibrillation is a frequently occurring supra-ventricular arrhythmia disorder which is often diagnosed in patients with a Brugada Syndrome. That is why this heart rhythm disorder, together with ventricular tachycardia and the risk of sudden death, is studied in more detail in this research line.

The emphasis is currently being placed more on genetic defects, which may cause these diseases, more specifically the Brugada Syndrome and the potential link with ion channel disorders in neurological disorders.

Using cardiac imaging the group will also examine whether morphological differences contribute to the incidence of the Brugada Syndrome, what is their link with the electrophysiological problem and their role in clinical manifestations.

The integration of clinical pharmacology (Prof. A. Dupont) within the CCVD research group is designed to optimise the medicine policy in the hospital through research within the CCVD. The results of this research can be used in other departments of the hospital.

In terms of medical information (Dr R. Van de Velde) the CCVD research group wishes to take the lead in optimising the integration of IT in the electronic patient dossier.
One of the first projects will consist of incorporating the clinical "heart failure" path in the EMD.