BigData@Heart logo


Start Date
End Date
IMI2 - Call 7
Grant agreement number

Type of Action: 
RIA (Research and Innovation Action)

IMI Funding
9 664 970
EFPIA in kind
9 734 000
51 002
Total Cost
19 449 972


Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a major killer in Europe, causing 3.9 million deaths (around 45% of all deaths) annually. What’s more, a third of deaths from CVD occur in the under 75s. On the economic front, CVD costs the EU around EUR 210 billion a year, with healthcare costs accounting for just over half of this figure. Three diseases – atrial fibrillation (AF), heart failure (HF) and acute coronary syndrome (ACS) are major drivers of CVD. All three are extremely complex and characterised by large differences between patients with the same diagnosis. As a result, it is hard to predict which patients will respond best to which treatments.

The BigData@Heart project is part of IMI’s Big Data for Better Outcome (BD4BO) Programme. It brings together some of Europe’s leading experts in CVD treatment and management, as well as epidemiologists, big data scientists, doctors, industry representatives, patient representatives, and ethics and legal experts. Between them, the partners have access to many cohorts and databases in this field. With this diverse team and resources, the project will be able to develop new definitions of diseases and outcomes; informatics platforms that link, visualise and harmonise different data sources; data science techniques; and guidelines on the cross-border use of big data resources. In the long term, the project expects to have an impact on our understanding of heart disease, the discovery of new targets for treatments, and progress towards personalised treatments for CVD.

Achievements & News

Analysis suggests that as COVID spread, emergency dept. visits dropped
July 2021

The beginning of the coronavirus pandemic led people to stay away from emergency departments (EDs) in the UK, recent data analysis suggests, including those with urgent heart problems. And this in turn may have led to a spike in mortality, according to a new study supported by IMI project BigData@Heart. ###

The study, which was published in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, analysed data gathered between March and April 2020 from the UK’s government statistics body, as well as a public registry that tracks emergency department visits, and ran a script to estimate the number of excess deaths. They estimate that during the initial phase of the pandemic, there was a drop of about 2 750 visits per week (a 35% decrease) for suspected cardiac disease.

Lead author Dr Michail Katsoulis said: "Our analysis suggested that one cardiac death might have been prevented or delayed for every additional 12 ED visits for suspected cardiac conditions." They arrived at the conclusion that there may have been as many as 232 more deaths per week early in the pandemic, compared to the pre-pandemic period.

As for the reasons people stayed away, no doubt fear of infection played a role. On top of that, public health messaging focused on encouraging people to put as little pressure on the UK’s national health service as possible.

Find out more

Participants Show participants on map

EFPIA companies
  • Bayer Aktiengesellschaft, Leverkusen, Germany
  • Institut De Recherches Internationales Servier Iris, Suresnes, France
  • Novartis Pharma AG, Basel, Switzerland
  • Somalogic Inc, Boulder, United States
  • Vifor (International) AG, St. Gallen, Switzerland
Universities, research organisations, public bodies, non-profit groups
  • Charite - Universitaetsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany
  • European Heart Network Aisbl, Bruxelles, Netherlands
  • Fundacion Para La Investigacion Del Hospital Clinico De La Comunitat Valenciana, Fundacion Incliva, Valencia, Spain
  • Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
  • Region Uppsala, Uppsala, Sweden
  • Societe Europeenne De Cardiologie, Biot, France
  • The University Of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom
  • Universitaetsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany
  • Universitair Medisch Centrum Utrecht, Utrecht, Netherlands
  • University College London, London, United Kingdom
  • University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and mid-sized companies (<€500 m turnover)
  • International Consortium For Healthoutcomes Measurement Inc., Cambridge, United States
  • Stichting Mlc Foundation, Den Haag, Netherlands
  • The Hyve BV, Utrecht, Netherlands
Third parties
  • International Consortium For Healthoutcomes Measurement LTD, London, United Kingdom
  • Region Stockholm, Stockholm, Sweden
Project leader
Gunnar Brobert