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Research group/lab  |  PI I. van der Laar, MD

Adult Congenital Heart Disease

Research on adults with congenital heart disease, aortic pathology, pulmonary hypertension and pregnancy in women with cardiac disease.

About our research group/lab

Our projects

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Bicuspid Aortic Valve (BAV) study

This study is a clinical and genetic study to unravel biomarker and imaging predictors of adverse outcome and to explore the pathogenetic basis of bicuspid aortic valves.

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Biomarkers are substances measurable in blood that can reflect disease processes in the body and can therefore be helpfull to estimate the prognosis of patients.

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Biomechanics in Congenital Cardiology

We aim to unravel the etiology of cardiovascular complications in patients with congenital heart disease and to advance personalized treatment of these patients.

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Echocardiography in congenital heart disease

The population of adults with congenital heart disease (ACHD) is increasing constantly due to medical, surgical and interventional successes and the input from advanced cardiovascular imaging. ACHD patients are at continuing risk of residua and sequelae related to their CHD contributing to significant morbidity and mortality. Echocardiography is crucial to clinical surveillance providing a comprehensive assessment of cardiac morphology, physiology, pathophysiology, and function. There are several ongoing projects concerning echocardiography in congenital heart disease: • Prognostic value of Speckle tracking echocardiography in congenital heart disease • Unravelling aetiology and risk factors in patients with a Bicuspid Aortic Valves • LV flow patterns in systolic heart failure: A new aspect elucidated by high-frame rate echocardiography • A novel standardized model for right ventricle function assessment using two-dimensional I-rotate echocardiography

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Quality of Life in adults with congenital heart disease

Long-term cardiological and psychosocial outcome in adults operated for congenital heart disease in early childhood: a longitudinal cohort-study of 40-53 years of follow-up.

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ROPAC Pregnancy and Cardiac Disease

Cardiac disease is the leading cause for maternal mortality in developed countries. A better understanding of this group is crucial to improve pregnancy care.

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‘SIZE MATTERS’ project: Male-female differences in thoracic aortic disease

Multicenter and multidisciplinary project on male-female differences in all aspects of thoracic aortic diseases. The ultimate goal of this project is to develop a patient information portal, and clinician decision aid, using the data from this project. Research topics to achieve this goal include: quality of life, aortic dissection, outcome after aortic surgery, biomarkers, genetics, and immunohistological and biomechanical properties of the thoracic aorta.

Key Publications

Pregnancy outcomes in women with cardiovascular disease: evolving trends over 10 years in the ESC Registry Of Pregnancy And Cardiac disease (ROPAC).
Roos-Hesselink J, Baris L, Johnson M, De Backer J, Otto C, Marelli A, Jondeau G, Budts W, Grewal J, Sliwa K, Parsonage W, Maggioni AP, van Hagen I, Vahanian A, Tavazzi L, Elkayam U, Boersma E, Hall R. (2019). Eur Heart J. 2019 Dec 14;40(47):3848-3855.

Improving the Diagnostic Performance of 18F-Fluorodeoxyglucose Positron-Emission Tomography/Computed Tomography in Prosthetic Heart Valve Endocarditis.
Swart LE, Gomes A, Scholtens AM, Sinha B, Tanis W, Lam MGEH, van der Vlugt MJ, Streukens SAF, Aarntzen EHJG, Bucerius J, van Assen S, Bleeker-Rovers CP, van Geel PP, Krestin GP, van Melle JP, Roos-Hesselink JW, Slart RHJA, Glaudemans AWJM, Budde RPJ. (2018). Circulation. 2018 Oct 2;138(14):1412-1427.

2018 ESC Guidelines for the management of cardiovascular diseases during pregnancy.
Regitz-Zagrosek V, Roos-Hesselink JW, Bauersachs J, Blomström-Lundqvist C, Cífková R, De Bonis M, Iung B, Johnson MR, Kintscher U, Kranke P, Lang IM, Morais J, Pieper PG, Presbitero P, Price S, Rosano GMC, Seeland U, Simoncini T, Swan L, Warnes CA; ESC Scientific Document Group. (2018). Eur Heart J. 2018 Sep 7;39(34):3165-3241.

Web-Based Mindfulness Intervention in Heart Disease: A Randomized Controlled Trial.
Younge JO, Wery MF, Gotink RA, Utens EM, Michels M, Rizopoulos D, van Rossum EF, Hunink MG, Roos-Hesselink JW. (2015). PLoS One. 2015 Dec 7;10(12):e0143843.

Outcome of pregnancy in patients with structural or ischaemic heart disease: results of a registry of the European Society of Cardiology.
Roos-Hesselink JW, Ruys TP, Stein JI, Thilén U, Webb GD, Niwa K, Kaemmerer H, Baumgartner H, Budts W, Maggioni AP, Tavazzi L, Taha N, Johnson MR, Hall R; ROPAC Investigators. (2013). Eur Heart J. 2013 Mar;34(9):657-65.

The usefulness of brain natriuretic peptide in complex congenital heart disease.
Eindhoven JA, van den Bosch AE, Jansen PR, Boersma E, Roos-Hesselink JW. (2012). J Am Coll Cardiol. 2012 Nov 20;60(21):2140-9.


Collaborations within Erasmus MC

  • Pediatric cardiology
  • Cardiothoracic surgery
  • Obstetrics
  • Clinical genetics
  • Pulmonary disease

Collaborations outside Erasmus MC

  • Obstetrics Chelsea and Westminster hospital, London, Uk, Prof Dr Mark Johnson
  • Cardiology, Boston, Dr Alexander Opotowski
  • Clinical genetics, Antwerps, Belgium Prof Bart Loeys
  • Embryology, LUMC, Leiden, Prof Marco de Ruiter and Marie Jose Goumans

Funding & Grants

  • BAV: unravelling aetiology and risk factors in patients with a bicuspid aortic valve. Netherlands Heart Foundation 2013 / T093 / € 980.000
  • Size Matters. To implement male-female specific insights into aortic root and ascending aorta characteristics into clinical practice ZonMw 2017 / € 499.980
  • SMAD3-Related Aneurysms-Osteoarthritis Syndrome. An integrative functional analysis of SMAD3 patient mutations to provide insight into genotype-phenotype relation and recommendations for a clinical work-up. Erasmus MC MRACE 2015 / € 150.000

Our team

Why was this group formed?

In the Netherlands about 1 in every 100 children is born with a congenital heart defect. Since the introduction of the heart-lung machine the majority of these children reach adult age and need specialized care. In the Netherlands 4 dedicated centers exist for (adult) congenital heart disease with special permits to perform surgical and interventional procedures. Erasmus MC in Rotterdam is 1 of these 4 expertise centers. In close collaboration with cardiothoracic surgery and pediatric cardiology, the cardiology department is taking care of 4.000 adult patients with congenital heart disease. Research is clearly needed to improve the longterm outcome.

What is the overall aim?

To improve the longterm outcome of children born with congenital heart disease, to gain insight in risk factors for outcome using biomarkers, echocardiographic markers and advanced imaging (CT, MRI) and to try and let these people life a normal life, including pregnancy and sports participation.

What type of research do you focus on in this group?

Mostly clinical research: patient studies and registries but also some basal studies.