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Feasibility of a lifestyle behaviour change programme to promote cardiovascular and health benefits in patients with low-grade abdominal aortic aneurisms attending follow-up screening (Ref: SF20/SER/CUCATO)


Faculty of Health and Life Sciences

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Dr G Cucato Applications accepted all year round Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Project Rationale and Description* [300 words max]
Abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) is a degenerative condition of the abdominal aorta which is frequently lethal if it ruptures. One the main clinical considerations in AAA patients is the high risk of future cardiovascular events and mortality.
The main goal of AAA treatment is to prevent rupture, and the decision for medical monitoring or surgery depends on size of the AAA and growth rate. However, there is no strong evidence that any specific treatment (drug, diet, or exercise) will stop aneurysms growing and surgery is an inevitable for most patients. Since function capacity, high blood pressure and smoking are associated with mortality, long length of hospital stay after surgery and greater in-patient costs, strategies to improve the clinical profile of AAA patients during the course of disease could have a significant impact on treatment outcome.
Interventions that can engage AAA patients in healthy lifestyles, including regular physical activity, healthy eating, smoking cessation and limiting alcohol intake could help to improve cardiovascular risk profile and improve overall health and fitness levels prior to surgery. Previous studies show that exercise training prior to AAA repair leads to improved functional capacity and, as patients become physically fitter, they are likely to have an enhanced post-operative recovery. However, most studies have been performed in the very short time-period between decision to operate and surgery, thereby providing limited opportunity to improve clinical profile before treatment. Thus, strategies to improve clinical profile and cardiovascular risk status in low-grade AAA patients are clearly needed.
Thus, the primary aim of this research is to investigate the feasibility of implementing lifestyle behaviour change in low-grade AAA via a randomised controlled feasibility study. A secondary aim is to assess the indicative health benefits of the programme by comparing with a group of control patients undergoing usual care only.

Eligibility and How to Apply:
Please note eligibility requirement:
• Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
• Appropriate IELTS score, if required.
• Applicants cannot apply for this funding if currently engaged in Doctoral study at Northumbria or elsewhere.

For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see
https://www.northumbria.ac.uk/research/postgraduate-research-degrees/how-to-apply/

Please note: Applications that do not include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words (not a copy of the advert), or that do not include the advert reference (e.g., SF20/…) will not be considered.
Deadline for applications: Open
Start Date: October 2020 or March 2021
Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff. We welcome applications from all members of the community. The University holds an Athena SWAN Bronze award in recognition of our commitment to improving employment practices for the advancement of gender equality.
Please direct any enquiries to Dr Gabriel Cucato ([Email Address Removed])

Funding Notes

Please note, this is a self-funded project and does not include tuition fees or stipend; the studentship is available to Students Worldwide. Fee bands are available at https://www.northumbria.ac.uk/study-at-northumbria/fees-funding/ . A relevant fee band will be discussed at interview based on project running costs


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