heart health

Cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attack, stroke, and congestive heart failure, are responsible for a major proportion of the health burden experienced by individuals and societies around the world. Not only is cardiovascular disease important because of the large numbers of people who die prematurely as a consequence, but it is also one of the leading causes of inequalities in health within and between populations.

The Heart Health research programme has undertaken over 20 years of research into the causes, prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease. This theme’s primary focus is on the leading determinants of cardiovascular disease, in particular blood pressure and cholesterol, and identifying and developing practicable, affordable interventions to prevent cardiovascular disease.
Our research is international in scope, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region, as well as in New Zealand. It draws on the collective expertise of a leading group of clinical and population health researchers, and has considerable potential to improve health at a population level.

Current research highlights


A randomised controlled study to evaluate the long-term (1 year) effectiveness of a mobile phone delivered comprehensive Cardiac Rehabilitation (CR) programme on adherence to lifestyle change compared to usual care (encouragement to attend CR). The programme, Text4Heart, consists of a package of text messages and an interactive website to increase and maintain positive lifestyle changes.  We will use data from the ANZACS-QI registry and data linkage to assess outcomes at 1 year post-randomisation.

This project is being undertaken in partnership with Auckland District Health Board and Waitemata District Health Board and is funded by The Health Research Council (Partnership Grant).


Previous Research Highlights




Keratin4VLU was a community-based randomised controlled trial to find out whether using keratin dressings is better than usual care for ulcer healing in patients with slow-healing venous leg ulcers. Participants also received compression therapy as delivered through district nursing services at the study centres. Keratin4VLU is an investigator-initiated trial designed and coordinated in collaboration with Auckland District Health Board, Counties Manukau District Health Board, Southern District Health Board, The Nurse Maude Association Christchurch and Waikato District Health Board.  The trial is funded by the Health Research Council of New Zealand. For more information please contact Professor Andrew Jull


A community-based, double-blind, randomised controlled trial to evaluate the effect of 150mg aspirin or placebo daily for up to 24 weeks on venous ulcer healing. Participants received compression therapy as delivered through district nursing services at the study centres.

Aspirin4VLU was an investigator-initiated trial designed and co-ordinated in collaboration with:

  • Auckland District Health Board
  • Counties Manukau District Health Board
  • Southern District Health Board
  • The Nurse Maude Association Christchurch
  • Waikato District Health Board

The trial was funded by the Health Research Council of New Zealand

For more information please contact Professor Andrew Jull


Impact Polypill.JPG


The IMPACT trial aimed to assess whether a cardiovascular disease (CVD) medication strategy using a fixed dose combination pill ('polypill') could improve prescribing and adherence to recommended medications, lower blood pressure and improve lipids compared with current care over 12 months.

513 participants who had previous CVD events or were at high risk of CVD were enrolled, half of whom were Māori. Participants were identified, enrolled and prescribed either the polypill or current medications at their usual primary health care practice, with medications (including the polypill) dispensed through local community pharmacies.

Among this population, a CVD polypill improved adherence to the combination of all recommended drugs but improvements in clinical risk factors were small and did not reach statistical significance. Acceptability was high for both general practitioners and patients. There was no difference in effect between Māori and non-Māori participants.