The Heart and Blood Vessels

The cardiovascular system is a fascinating organ system whose task is to supply all the body’s organs with oxygen and nutrients, as well as carrying away waste products.

Approximately five litres of blood per minute is pumped around the body when it is at rest. During physical activity, stress, or threat, the amount can increase substantially.
Cardiovascular diseases cause 17 million deaths a year around the world. In Sweden it accounts for nearly half of all deaths. Smoking, obesity, diabetes, a sedentary lifestyle, bad eating habits, high blood pressure, stress, and unfavourable genetic factors are the most usual risks for being afflicted.
The panorama of illnesses that strike the cardiovascular system can be:
 arteriosclerosis, which further causes clot formation and obstruction of blood flow, which can lead to myocardial infarction or limb gangrene (local cell or tissue death)
 arterial aneurysms can rupture and lead to bleeding to death
 the pumping function of the heart can deteriorate, leading to development of cardiac failure
• the conducting system of the heart can be defective, leading to dysrhythmia.
Other major cardiac diseases are congenital defects, acquired valvular disorders and inflammation of the cardiac muscle.
Thanks to intensive research on several fronts, the chance of surviving cardiovascular disease has increased drastically over the last 20 years.

Internal medicine

Research into internal medicine includes projects related to diseases of the heart and vessels, but also metabolism, the liver, and the kidneys. The principal scientific methods are molecular biology, cell lines, genetics, epidemiology, and prospective studies of both healthy and ill persons.


Cardiology deals with diseases of the heart and blood vessels. At LiU, research is directed towards ischaemic disorders (caused by disruptions in blood circulation), heart failure (reduced pumping function) and arrhythmia (various forms of dysrhythmia). Many of the national quality registers based on patients with coronary disease and heart failure are managed from Linköping, and many ongoing research projects get their data from this register.

Cardiovascular physiology

The mechanical properties of blood vessels have great significance for heart function and the development of cardiovascular diseases. The processes in the vessel walls are largely unknown. Research in the field is managed in collaboration with the Center for Medical Image Science and Visualization (CMIV) and the technical divisions of Medical Technology and Applied Thermodynamics and Fluid Mechanics.

Clinical physiology

Clinical physiology is a link between preclinical basic research and its clinical counterparts within various specialities. The field also binds technical and medical science together through developing and evaluating new tools for research and diagnostics. Research at LiU focuses on functions and diagnosis in cardiovascular disease.

Thoracic surgery

Thoracic surgery at LiU focuses on cardiac metabolism in connection with surgical procedures, as well as mechanical heart devises as support in serious heart failure.



Two scientists are sitting infront of an MRI

Center for Medical Image Science and Visualization (CMIV)

CMIV conducts focused front-line research providing solutions to tomorrow’s clinical issues. The CMIV mission is to develop future methods and tools for image analysis and visualization for applications within health care and medical research.

Viruvian man

Circulation and metabolism - CircM

CircM is a strategic research network for researchers at Linköping University and Region Östergötland within the research field circulation and cardio-metabolic risk factors.

Researcher examining bloodsample in lab

Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Patients with Type 2-diabetes - CARDIPP

The aim is to identify risk markers for cardiovascular disease to facilitate early and individually adjusted interventions in middle-aged men and women with Type 2-diabetes.

Research center


Liqourice in a bowl with liquorice roots next to it.

Small amounts of liquorice raise blood pressure

It is known that large amounts of liquorice cause high blood pressure. A study from LiU now shows that even small amounts of liquorice raise blood pressure. The individuals who react most strongly also show signs of strain on the heart.

male and female researchers discuss a CT scan.

Immune system ageing can be revealed by CT scan

Thymus may play a bigger role in the immune system of adults than was previously believed. With age, the glandular tissue in the thymus is replaced by fat, but the rate at which this happens is linked to sex, age and lifestyle factors.

smoothie and spinach leaves.

Best liquids to maximise antioxidant content in spinach smoothies

Different market products give very different results when it comes to liberating the antioxidant lutein from spinach in smoothies, according to a study from LiU. Of 14 common dairy and plant-based products, only four increased lutein liberation.