Smoking tobacco and physical inactivity are key preventable risk factors of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Perfect Fit aims to prevent CVD, promote well-being, and reduce healthcare costs, particularly targeting disadvantaged populations where smoking and physical inactivity are prevalent.

The Research
The project develops tailored, evidence-based, near real-time computer coaching for quitting smoking and enhancing PA. For every individual, a personal model is designed which generates personalized recommendations based on high-quality existing and newly collected data, and adapts to changing circumstances/progress (similar to a TomTom navigation system), using machine learning techniques and incorporating domain-specific expert knowledge (e.g. health behaviour change strategies). Virtual coaches (VCs) communicate advice in a motivating way that fits individuals’ persuasive communication styles.

Perfect Fit integrates big-data science, sensor technology, and personalized real-time feedback to support smoking cessation and promote adequate physical activity (in both gym settings and daily life). The key questions of this study are:

  • Which adaptivity is needed to create a robust, safe, and effective interaction between individuals and machines?
  • How can we develop advanced data science methods and embed this in current smoking cessation and PA coaching practice?
  • How do measurement modalities, feedback and communication affect individuals’ smoking status and PA?

This project was funded within the Big Data & Health Program. The focus of this public-private research program is the use of big data for the early detection and prevention of cardiovascular diseases. The program has been developed by NWO, ZonMw, the Dutch Heart Foundation, the Top Sectors Life Sciences & Health (LSH), ICT and Creative Industry, the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, and the Netherlands eScience Center. Within this research program, the ambitions of the Dutch Heart Foundation, the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, and the Netherlands eScience Center were aligned with the ambitions of Commit2Data for the Top Sectors ICT, LSH, and Creative Industry, as described in the 2018-2019 Kennis- en Innovatiecontracts between NWO and the Top Sectors.

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Digoxin is the oldest, market-authorized drug for heart failure (HF), and very cheap. A large trial with digoxin, the DIG trial, executed in the early nineties revealed a highly significant reduction in HF hospitalizations, but no effect on mortality. A post-hoc analysis of the DIG trial suggests that low serum concentrations of digoxin may not only improve HF hospitalizations but also mortality in chronic HF patients. To validate these findings, a prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled trial is required to redefine the role of digoxin in modern HF treatment. The Focus The primary objective of this study is to investigate whether low-level digoxin (targeting serum concentrations of 0.5-0.9 ng/mL), compared to a placebo, reduces (repeated) HF hospitalizations, (repeated) urgent HF hospital visits, and cardiovascular mortality when added to standard guideline-recommended therapies in chronic HF patients with reduced or mid-range ejection fractions (LVEF ≤50%). The Research This proposed trial is a national, multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial involving 982 chronic HF patients aged ≥18 years, classified as NYHA II to ambulatory IV, LVEF ≤50%, and specific serum NT-proBNP concentrations based on rhythm and recent HF hospitalization status. Patients must also be on guideline-recommended therapies. The study population includes at least one-third with atrial fibrillation (AF) and one-third women to represent the real-life HF population. Patients were randomized to receive either a low-level digoxin or a placebo in a double-blinded manner. Digoxin Teva will be administered orally, starting at doses of 0.2mg or 0.1mg (based on age, renal function, and concomitant medication). No loading dose is given to the placebo group. After 4 weeks of evaluating medication (digoxin or placebo), concentrations will be measured. Dose adjustments will be made if needed to reach the target serum digoxin concentration range of 0.5-0.9ng/mL. The outcomes in reducing adverse cardiovascular events in patients with chronic heart failure of low-dose digoxin will be compared to the outcomes of the placebo.
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Right Heart Care In the Right Place

Atrial fibrillation and heart failure are two of the major cardiovascular challenges of our time. It is important that these conditions are detected in time and treated according to guidelines. This is far from always the case. It is sometimes not clear that certain symptoms are caused by atrial fibrillation or heart failure, neither to the patient himself nor to health care providers. As a result, it sometimes takes a long time before someone receives the right treatment. The chronic nature of heart diseases such as atrial fibrillation and heart failure also means that patients with these conditions are seen by many healthcare providers. To achieve this in a high-quality and transparent manner, optimal cooperation between the various care domains is necessary. It is important that the principle of right care in the right place (JZOJP) is applied. However, network care is complex and the effective organization of JZOJP by the right healthcare professional is still far from commonplace despite the many initiatives. The origin Better treatment of these conditions was a priority on the cardiovascular disease research agenda. This is why the Dutch Heart Foundation and ZonMw have started the thematic collaboration “Right Heart Care In the Right Place". By combining expertise, we want to detect as many people as possible with atrial fibrillation and heart failure early and treat them optimally. We are doing this in various ways: jointly setting up subsidy rounds to support regional collaborations, supporting a national support structure for the regions and overarching activities that contribute to knowledge development. As part of Right Heart Care In the Right Place, the network program of the Dutch Society of Cardiology, NVVC Connect, together with involved network partners, facilitates an adequate national support structure for affiliated regional collaborations, or Connect regions. The Connect regions are supported and guided in, for example, preparing the subsidy application and they receive support during the implementation of the regional transmural agreements. The research The Right Heart Care In the Right Place consists of two forms of support: the National Impulse: the aim is to set up a sustainable national support structure that stimulates and guides regions in the regional design and implementation of network care in the field of atrial fibrillation and heart failure the Regional Impulse: the aim of the Regio-Impulse Cardiac Care is to support regional alliances, the Connect regions, in implementing regional transmural agreements. By bringing together the various care providers from the 3rd, 2nd and 1st line, these collaborative ventures jointly offer cardiological care for atrial fibrillation or heart failure more integrally and transmurally. In this way, the patient comes into contact with the healthcare provider who can best contribute to the care need at that moment. A maximum of 22 Connect regions can receive funding to implement the transmural agreements or to optimize the implementation in their region.
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