Paroian Family PHA Canada PH Research Scholarship - Description of Sylvia Rinaldi's Project

Paroian Family PHA Canada PH Research Scholarship - Description of Sylvia Rinaldi's project


Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is a serious lung disorder which results from the narrowing of the pulmonary arteries which carry blood from the heart to the lungs. The goal of the study is to determine the nutrition profile of PH patients with various disease subtypes and disease severity. The first objective is to determine the percentage of patients who have higher or lower than normal calorie needs. The second objective is to determine if there are specific nutrients of concern in this population. The third objective is to measure body composition and nutritionally relevant functional markers such as hand grip strength.

Participants will be recruited from the PH Clinic at Victoria Hospital in London, Ontario and will be asked to collect data on their food, beverage and supplement intake using a 24-hr food recall and a 3-day food intake journal. Data collected will include, but is not limited to: body composition data, such as body fat percentage and amount of muscle mass using bioelectrical impedance analysis (a method used to estimate body composition);  the amount of calories used by the body at rest using indirect calorimetry (a way to estimate energy expenditure from measures of carbon dioxide production and oxygen consumption); and functional measures such as hand grip strength. Additionally patients’ charts will be reviewed for relevant data such as disease severity, disease subtype and relevant bloodwork such as levels of vitamin D.

As minimal information is available in the literature on the nutritional status of PH patients, the knowledge gained from the study will provide new and novel evidence to help guide health professionals, including Registered Dietitians, to provide better care to PH patients. This research has the potential to improve the lives and outcomes of PH patients through interprofessional collaboration in the management of PH. 

About Sylvia Rinaldi

S._Rinaldi.jpgSylvia Rinaldi is a registered dietitian and PhD student in the Department of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of Western Ontario with a focus on health and aging. Sylvia earned her BSc in Biochemistry at the University of Windsor and a BSc and MSc in Foods and Nutrition at Brescia University College. Her research interests involve maintaining and improving the nutritional status of patients with chronic respiratory disorders including pulmonary hypertension and interstitial lung disease. As a registered dietitian she values evidence-based and research-driven clinical practice. This guides her research investigations into the links between nutrition and disease and how improvements in nutrition may have the potential to improve disease outcome and quality of life. 

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