Scientific research saves & improves millions of lives

The touching stories of heart disease and stroke survivors illustrate exactly why we fund lifesaving research.

Tackling the future of scientific research through innovation
AHA research propels breakthroughs, changes medicine

Groundbreaking results for nearly a century; new innovations shape decades to come

Last year the AHA invested $152.5 million to fund 882 new awards in heart and stroke research to help find the next breakthrough that could save you or a loved one.
The many AHA-funded discoveries include the first implantable pacemakers, the first artificial heart valve, CPR techniques and cholesterol-lowering medications.
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 represented 65% of award funds in FY 2016-17. So far we have funded 13 Nobel Prize winning researchers.
Tackling the future of scientific research through innovation

How we're using emerging technology,
big data and bold new approaches
to save and improve lives:

Institute for Precision Cardiovascular Medicine searching for more personalized treatments, prevention strategies.
One Brave Idea awarding $75 million to one research team seeking cure for coronary heart disease.

The American Heart Association has been working to save and
improve lives from heart disease and stroke for more than 90 years,
with scientific research at the core of all our efforts.

And we're making a difference. The research we've funded through the generosity of our donors is helping people survive heart disease and stroke. They're living longer and enjoying a better quality of life, thanks to new treatments, prevention strategies and a deeper understanding of these diseases.

In fact, heart disease deaths have declined so steadily over the decades that we are eagerly awaiting the day when it is no longer the leading cause of death in the U.S. We've already seen the stroke death rate drop - from the No. 3 cause of death in the U.S. to No. 5 over just five years.

Our core research programs have launched or furthered the work of many of this country's brightest CVD and stroke researchers. Building on the strength of those programs, we've added research awards that foster team science and accelerate discovery as we relentlessly search for innovative solutions.  

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 across the country to collaborate on specific topics, such as women and heart disease or high blood pressure. Our Collaborative Science Awards partner researchers from different disciplines, while our Merit Awards fund highly promising investigators who have the potential to move a field of science forward with creative approaches.

We know that personalized medicine can improve cardiovascular health of individuals and populations. Our Institute for Precision Cardiovascular Medicine is tapping the power of technology and big data to help people find more targeted, safer and more effective treatments and prevention strategies.

Despite our success, there is work to do. We still lack the funding for hundreds of worthy research projects - any of which could be a lifesaving breakthrough just waiting to cure heart disease and stroke, which remain the leading causes of death globally.

Whether channeling the power of our thousands of scientific volunteers who help ensure we fund the most worthy research or boldly exploring untried new research approaches, the driving force behind our efforts never changes:

Saving and improving lives.



AHA research is built to solve puzzling issues related to heart disease and stroke. That requires not only top-flight researchers, but also bold new ideas, traditional ideas that are proven to work, rigorous scrutiny from scientific experts who volunteer for us and donors who make it all happen.



The Institute for Precision Medicine is one of several innovative research approaches the AHA is employing to more aggressively attack heart disease and stroke.



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.



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



Generous supporters make our research possible. This includes large charitable foundations, corporations and individuals. Donate now.


Here's a look at some of the many research breakthroughs funded by the AHA over the years:

Correcting heart defects in newborns

Dr. William Rashkind in 1966 developed a technique to correct septal defects in newborns, showing that major procedures could be performed inside the heart through 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 stent keep blocked arteries open while releasing medicine.