Identifying associations between different types of drugs and heart disease

Meet Morten Schmidt

“I am fascinated by how we can take advantage of the wealth of data and registries we have in Denmark to the benefit of patients and our society. I combine this fascination with my passion for heart disease and thus work in the field of registry-based cardiovascular research.” 

How do we combine the knowledge and expertise of cardiologists working with patients with that of epidemiologists working with registries to improve cardiovascular epidemiology research in general?

This is the focus of Associate Professor Morten Schmidt’s work at the hospital departments of Cardiology and of Clinical Epidemiology where he practices what he calls “register-based research in heart disease”.

Danish registries provide unique opportunities

Morten’s research team uses routinely collected electronic health records to follow patients and their health outcomes over time and to identify patterns and associations between different types of drugs and the development of heart disease. One of the unique aspects of Morten Schmidt’s research is his focus on using registry data in a way that mimics clinical controlled trials. This approach, known as target trial emulations, leverages advanced statistics and represents a cutting-edge method in the field.

“In Denmark we have a unique opportunity for this kind of research because we have access to national registries which can be linked using the CPR number. This provides an opportunity to answer research questions that is not possible to answer elsewhere. And a better understanding of the cardiovascular risks linked to use of e.g., painkillers is important for the individual patient but also the public health in general”, Morten Schmidt says.

Part of a strong research environment

His special interest in heart disease was sparked during the first year of medical school and when the opportunity for research within the field presented itself, he jumped at it. 

In the beginning it was animal experimental research with percutaneous coronary interventions on pigs in the basement in Skejby. But when planning a “Research year” during medical school, he switched to registry-based research, which has been his focus since. He sees huge potential for registry-based cardiovascular research in the future.

“There are endless questions to be answered and one answer leads to the next question. I don’t dream of answering one specific question but rather contribute to a strong research environment here at the University where we are able to provide answers to many important questions by combining clinical and epidemiological expertise.

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