Stroke, heart disease, hypertension, and peripheral vascular disease are collectively the leading global causes of mortality, morbidity, and disease burden using disability-adjusted life years. As the global population ages, these conditions will become more common. Cardiovascular disease is one of the 12 broad topic areas of importance identified by Cochrane because they are relevant to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the World Health Organisation (WHO). With the pattern of disease changing, a single disease focus in reviews is becoming less applicable to the general population, therefore Cochrane has brought together the four existing Cochrane groups – Cochrane Heart, Cochrane Hypertension, Cochrane Stroke, and Cochrane Vascular – into a single Thematic Group.
Cochrane Heart, Stroke and Circulation shares collective expertise and knowledge and ensures that evidence synthesis in cardiovascular disease reflects the multimorbidity paradigm, the large global burden of vascular disease (increasing especially in developing countries), and the continuous development of interventions and diagnostic tests for these conditions.
Gillian Mead: Group Leader - University of Edinburgh.
|Alex Todhunter-Brown: Group Leader - Glasgow Caledonian University.
|Rui Providencia: Group Leader - University College London.
|Rod Taylor: Group Leader - University of Glasgow.
|Jackie Price: Group Leader - University of Edinburgh.
|Gerry Stansby: Group Leader - Newcastle University.
|Jim Wright: Group Leader - University of British Columbia.
|Juan Erviti: Group Leader - Cochrane Iberoamerica, Navarre Associate Centre.
Long term sustainability of these activities outlined below are subject to appropriate funding, which is actively being sought.
Broadly, our work plan is designed to enable us to establish an inclusive management structure, and define activities and outputs in more detail. We will also develop and submit funding applications and explore alternative models of funding (e.g., by approaching our institutions).
Further specific objectives within the first 18 months are to:
- Map existing reviews and identify areas of overlap in terms of interventions, and diseases. This has been done for Cochrane Stroke and could be repeated for the other disease groups.
- Synthesise existing priorities relating to Vascular Diseases set by James Lind Alliance and other patient/carers surveys. The Stroke Association (UK) performed a major priority-setting exercise in June 2021. The main findings have been published (top 10 areas in Life after stroke and acute care/secondary prevention) but there are other important priorities below that which we can scrutinise too, and explore how these map to Cochrane reviews.
- Identify a programme of high priority reviews and updates (this could include de novo reviews, update reviews, overviews), determine whether they require complex methodological input, and form plans for the conduct of these (e.g. funding applications for specific reviews; updates conducted by post-graduate students or early career researchers, with support from experienced reviewers - see also Cochrane's Early Career Professionals Network).
- Establish our Thematic Group management structure, ensuring we have adequate representation of disease /topic experts and geographical diversity of members, including from low and middle-income countries
- Provide content expertise to identify priorities in these disease areas, as required by Cochrane central team
- Provide topic, content and editorial expertise to the Cochrane central team, to support the centralised editorial service, as required
- Co-create a consumer engagement strategy, and ensure meaningful engagement of patients, carers and stakeholders
- Co-create a dissemination strategy, with a focus on the facilitation of knowledge translation, and develop mechanisms to disseminate updated and new reviews published by Cochrane.
- Maintain up-to-date trials register, as this is utilised by a number of Guideline developers (subject to resources available to engage an information specialist).
- Explore options to automate study identification.
- The last few months have been busy for us. We have written grant applications to support our work and will let you know the outcomes of these as soon as we can.
- We continue to support Cochrane Central by reviewing and contributing to proposals about new reviews.
Several of us are also members of NESSIE (NIHR EVIDENCE SYNTHESIS SCOTLAND INITIATIVE).
We continue to expand our group with new members. We welcome new members with an interest in evidence synthesis in vascular disease to join us.
In 2024 we will continue with our efforts to secure substantive funding.
- Introducing Cochrane Heart, Stroke and Circulation
Professor Gillian Mead