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Prof. Johan Sundström to receive the 2016 Viviane Conraads Award

Outstanding Achievement Award for Established Researchers, created in memory of Dr Viviane Conraads.

The EACPR Board and Science Committee are pleased to announce that the second Award will be presented to Professor Johan Sundström (Uppsala, Sweden) for his achievements and significant contributions in the field of cardiovascular disease prevention.


Professor Sundström is Professor of Epidemiology at Uppsala University, Scientific Director of Uppsala Clinical Research Center (UCR), and works clinically at the Department of Cardiology of Uppsala University Hospital.

Professor Sundström has a broad epidemiological background. He has contributed to the understanding of cardiovascular disease and its risk factors, with a focus on high blood pressure. His research has two current foci:

  • methodological, focusing on meta-analytic methods
  • clinical, focusing on risk assessment and evaluation of treatments of cardiovascular disease and its risk factors


His main recent contribution to science is his investigations of the benefit of selecting people for blood pressure-lowering treatment based on their cardiovascular disease risk rather than their blood pressure. The importance of this for healthcare is illustrated by the reception of his recent article in the Lancet, described in the BMJ with the words: "This could be the most important paper for general practice to come out in the last 10 years."

His earliest work on the harmful effects of hypertension contributed to the understanding of left ventricular hypertrophy. It received substantial attention and was highly cited. During his post-doctoral period at the Framingham Heart Study, he was inspired to investigate the causes of hypertension. One study on that topic, a study of the association of uric acid with hypertension incidence, is one of Johan’s most cited papers.

In his subsequent research of the impact of high blood pressure on cardiovascular events, he has researched U-shaped such associations and the impact of diurnal blood pressure variation. During a recent most valuable year spent at the George Institute for Global Health at Sydney University, he led studies in the Blood Pressure Lowering Treatment Trialists' Collaboration investigating optimal targeting of blood pressure-lowering treatment.

He has contributed to the fields of obesity and the metabolic syndrome, most notably with a study demonstrating the poor clinical utility of diagnosing the metabolic syndrome, and an article questioning if the metabolic syndrome is a syndrome at all. He has also investigated risks and benefits of lifestyle habits, mainly tobacco and physical activity. He recently demonstrated clear health risks with use of smokeless tobacco, as well as an increased risk of atrial fibrillation with very high levels of physical activity. These observational studies are the only evidence on which to base clinical advice for these lifestyle factors, as randomized trials are impossible for these exposures.

He has initiated a Swedish national infrastructure for cohort studies, the Swedish Cohort Consortium (COHORTS.SE), supported by BBMRI (Biobanking and Biomolecular Resources Research Infrastructure) and the Swedish Research Council. In a pilot study of the infrastructure, investigating risk factors for subarachnoid haemorrhage, he has successfully collated individual participant data from more than twenty Swedish cohorts totalling more than one million participants and twenty million person-years at risk. Evidence for etiology, risk prediction and prevention of such uncommon diseases will likely never be obtained in randomized clinical trials, but will rely on observational studies. The proposed infrastructure quite uniquely has sufficient statistical power to provide such evidence for uncommon events defined in a standardized manner, thanks to the abundance of nationwide registries including all Swedish citizens.

NCBI Bibliography
Google scholar

About the Award

This outstanding achievement award for established researchers was created in memory of Dr Viviane Conraads, distinguished EACPR member, head of the Heart Failure Clinic of the University Hospital of Antwerp and nucleus member of the EACPR Exercise, Basic and Translational Research section.

The Award will be handed-over at the occasion of the closing ceremony at EuroPRevent 2017 in Malaga, Spain (8 April).