American Heart Association

Scientific Research

By funding scientific research, the American Heart Association supports those fighting cardiovascular disease. Together, we’re saving lives.

We’ve long supported scientific research in our fight against heart disease and stroke. And we’re making a difference. The research we’ve funded through the generosity of our donors is helping more and more people survive heart disease and stroke. Our core research programs have launched or furthered the work of many of this country’s brightest researchers. And we’ve added research awards that foster team science and accelerate discovery.
Rigorous, dependable research has always been at the heart of our efforts.

GROUNDBREAKING RESULTS

FOR NEARLY A CENTURY

Through our longstanding support of scientific research, the AHA has propelled breakthroughs that have saved and improved lives.

The AHA is committed to funding early-career investigators, whose work is vital to the future of heart and brain health. Funding for training and early-career investigators represents a substantial portion of the millions that we invest into research each year.

That commitment has brought results. The many AHA-funded discoveries include the first implantable pacemakers, the first artificial heart valve, CPR techniques and cholesterol-lowering medications.

Our historic endeavor One Brave Idea is awarding $75 million to a single research team aiming to cure coronary heart disease.

Our Strategically Focused Research Networks bring together researchers from top institutions to collaborate on specific topics. Our Collaborative Sciences Awards partner researchers from different disciplines, while our Merit Awards fund creative approaches with the potential to move a field of science forward.

Also, we know that personalized medicine can improve cardiovascular health for individuals and populations. Our Institute for Precision Cardiovascular Medicine taps into the power of technology and big data to identify safer and more effective treatment and prevention strategies.

Tackling Heart And Brain Challenges

As a researcher, peer review volunteer or a donor, you can join the American Heart Association as we fight for a world free of heart disease and stroke.

Accelerating Science

The Institute for Precision Medicine is one of several innovative research approaches the AHA is supporting in the fight against heart disease and stroke.

Research Programs

We’ve built one of the largest and most trusted research programs in the nation, funding more than $4.1 billion in heart disease and stroke research over the years.

Volunteers

Nearly 2,500 researchers and healthcare providers help provide rigorous peer review to ensure that we fund the most worthy and promising research projects.

Donate

Generous supporters make our research possible. Donors include large charitable foundations, corporations and individuals.

More Than $4.1 Billion Invested

Since 1949, the American Heart Association has invested more than $4.1 billion toward scientific research, more than any other organization outside of the federal government.

If you are a researcher, the AHA has resources available for you. Learn more about our varied initiatives, and how you can play a valuable role.

Science student looking through microscope in the lab

AHA Research Highlights

Research breakthroughs funded by the AHA over the years

Research milestones

Correcting heart defects in newborns

In 1966, Dr. William Rashkind developed a technique to correct septal defects in newborns, showing that major procedures could be performed inside the heart via a catheter. 

Drug found to lower cholesterol

Research by Dr. William Conner in 1968 showed that the drug cholestyramine can lower cholesterol in the blood. The drug is still used today.

Research shows lifesaving value of CPR

Drs. William Kouwenhoven, James Jude and Guy Knickerbocker reported in 1961 that CPR provides blood flow to vital organs for people in cardiac arrest.

Breakthrough opens blocked arteries

Dr. Andrew Marks developed drug-coated stents to prevent the tiny wire tubes from accumulating fatty plaques. These stents keep blocked arteries open while releasing medicine.