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Institute for Cardiovascular Disease Research

  • A group of researchers working in the lab smiling for the camera in front of their research equipment

SC Impact

Cardiovascular disease is the #1 leading cause of death in South Carolina. The research conducted by this institute seeks to directly reduce mortality rates from cardiovascular disease in patient populations across the state.

Health Care-Changing Research Begins in South Carolina

The knowledge built through this research about cardiovascular disease and how stress contributes to its onset, acceleration and exacerbation will benefit the country as a whole.

South Carolina is home to many populations that are at higher risk for cardiovascular disease and that will benefit enormously from the real-world applications of this research.

Specific Groups Benefited by the Research

This research will improve the lives of anyone who has cardiovascular disease or knows someone with cardiovascular disease in South Carolina. However, certain groups will greatly benefit from our focus area and the institute's work at large.


Women and the Female Population

Females make up half of the population in South Carolina.

We know that females have a higher prevalence of diseases that are affected by stress and make up a higher percentage of population of those suffering from cardiovascular disease, as compared to males.

Yet, we don’t understand impacts of stress on women and females because historically, this entire sex has been excluded from cardiovascular and stress-related research. 

This research will help us understand how these basic biological processes work for women and the female sex. This is particularly true due to the fact that heart failure often occurs despite health care providers meeting the standard of care hypertension guidelines. This is particularly prevalent in elderly women and African Americans.

The new understanding and results from this research will make a big difference for our state and the women and females who reside here.

Black and African American Communities

High blood pressure disproportionately affects African American communities. This community experiences high heart failure rates despite health providers meeting standard of care guidelines.

According to DHEC (South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control), 3,011 African Americans died from heart disease alone in South Carolina during 2020.

Black adults have a higher burden of cardiovascular disease than white peers. Studies have shown that a complex, interrelated set of clinical and psychosocial factors drives the disparity. 

The institute will shed light on how body responses to everyday situations increase the likelihood of cardiovascular disease in these populations.

Veterans and Those Suffering from PTSD or Trauma

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is thought to cause premature cardiovascular disease, according to studies from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.

Exposure to trauma affects the body in significant ways, especially the heart and vascular system. Veterans are at higher risk of having a new onset of heart disease compared with non-veterans.

More than 400,000 veterans live in South Carolina. The institute's researchers include experts at the South Carolina Veteran Affairs hospital network to better understand the relationship between chronic, unpredictable stress and blood pressure for countless service members in our home state. 

This research contributes directly to improving the lives of veterans and those with trauma or PTSD, while adding to the overall knowledge base of care for veterans.


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Institute for Cardiovascular Disease Research

    Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.