Heart Failure with Hypertension and Valvular Causes

Group leader: Ramón Querejeta, M.D., Ph.D.

Donostialdea IHO ramon.querejetairaola@osakidetza.eus
Dr. Ramón Querejeta Iraola is a Doctor in Medicine from the University of Navarra (1998) and a Specialist in Cardiology from the same university (1982). Dr. Querejeta has been Head of the Cardiology Service at the Donostia University Hospital (Donostialdea IHO) since 2019, having been Head of Section since 2011. He is also Head of the Heart Failure with Hypertension and Valvular Causes Group at the Biodonostia HRI, within the Systemic Diseases Area.
In the field of teaching, he has been a fully tenured Professor since February 2022 at the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry of the University of the Basque Country/Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea (UPV/EHU), where he previously served as Associate Professor accredited by ANECA since 2013, having been Associate Professor since 2008.Dr. Querejeta also has gained recognition for twelve years of research and six in process. He has directed several doctoral theses, as well as several final degree and/or master’s degree projects. He has published more than 65 articles, more than 75% of them in the first quartile, having received 3,670 citations (March 2021) with an h-index of 31.

Strategic Objectives


  • To study the degree of involvement of myocardial fibrosis in systolic and diastolic dysfunction of the left ventricle in patients with arterial hypertension and with aortic stenosis.
  • To analyse the quantitative and qualitative aspects of myocardial collagen and their influence on the left ventricle function.
  • To determine whether the circulating levels of the peptids involved in the turnover of collagen are related to the magnitude of the fibrosis directly determined in the myocardium of those patients and whether their origin is essentially cardiac (coronary sinus-peripheral blood gradient).
  • To determine the capacity of the MMP-1/TIMP-1 ratio measure in peripheral blood to differentiate the patients with systolic HF from those with diastolic HF (stages C and D of the new HF classification (NYHA functional classes II to IV)).
  • To analyse the implication of emerging biomarkers such as Cardiotrophin-1 and Osteopontin in the development of myocardial fibrosis.
  • To analyse any association that may exist between inappropriate left ventricular hypertrophy and the systolic-diastolic function, with the degree of fibrosis and the levels of circulating substances derived from neurohumoral hyperactivation.
  • To study whether the expression of the different isoforms of the PLC?, in particular of the PLC?4, is different in patients with appropriate and inappropriate left ventricular hypertrophy.


  • To assess whether the MMP-1/TIMP-1 ratio in peripheral blood allows patients with systolic and diastolic HF to be more accurately distinguished than with other myocardium structural damage markers related to the collagen deposit (PICP), with the loss of cardiac muscle cells via apoptosis (annexin V, cardiotrophin-1) or more accurately than cardiac muscle cell stress biomarkers (proBNP).
  • To analyse the myocardial interstitial collagen both in quantitative and qualitative terms: Soluble versus insoluble collagen (cross-linked) and relative deposit of Collagen I and III.
  • To take a more in-depth look at the physiopathological mechanisms that lead to systolic dysfunction and to identify new targets in the pharmacological treatment of HF.
  • To establish whether the alterations of the left ventricle myocardial extracellular matrix differ significantly in the biopsy samples obtained from the basal interventricular septum with regard to those observed in the left ventricle free wall in patients with aortic stenosis.
  • To determine which of the two locations for the biopsy show alterations that better relate to systolic and diastolic ventricular function variables.
  • To thus establish the left ventricle region that should be studied in future research projects.
  • To create a method for human fibroblast cell culture by means of a biopsy of the right atrial appendage for in vitro studies (in collaboration with the CIMA [Centre for Applied Medical Research]).

Main lines of research

  • Myocardial fibrosis in Heart Failure Stages A, B and C caused by hypertension.
    • Influence of the quantity and quality of myocardial collagen in the ventricular function in patients with heart failure caused by hypertension (in collaboration with the CIMA).
    • Relative importance of the levels of myocardial Cardiotrophin-1 as regards Aldosterone and TGF-beta.
    • To study the possible association of myocardial collagen in hypertensive heart disease stages A, B and C with the appearance of major clinical events. Follow-up higher than 8-10 years: Analysis using the “Net Reclassification Improvement” and “Integrated Discrimination Improvement” methods.
  • Myocardial fibrosis associated with ageing in severe degenerative aortic stenosis in the elderly.
    • Myocardial fibrosis and inappropriate left ventricular hypertrophy in severe degenerative aortic stenosis. Study of the implication of the different isoenzymes of the PLC? (1-4) in the development of hypertrophy.
    • Influence of the quantity, quality and location of collagen in the left ventricular myocardium in the ventricular function in patients with severe aortic stenosis.
    • Histological validation of a new method for the quantification of diffuse myocardial fibrosis by magnetic resonance in patients with severe degenerative aortic stenosis.

Team Members

Name Surname Center E-mail
Xabier Arana Achaga Donostialdea IHO xabier.aranaachaga@osakidetza.eus
Cristina del Bosque Martín Donostialdea IHO
Kattalin Echegaray Ibañez Goierri-Alto Urola IHO kattalin.echegarayibanez@osakidetza.eus
Tomás Echeverría García Donostialdea IHO tomas.echeverriagarcia@osakidetza.eus
Alberto Eizaguirre Yarza Donostialdea IHO
María Cristina Goena Vives Debabarrena IHO cristina.goenavives@osakidetza.eus
Mariano Larman Tellechea Donostialdea IHO mariano.larmantellechea@osakidetza.eus
Ainhoa Rengel Jimenez Donostialdea IHO
Eva Robledo Mansilla Donostialdea IHO  eva.robledomansilla@osakidetza.eus
Itziar Solla Ruiz Donostialdea IHO itziar.sollaruiz@osakidetza.eus
Iñaki Villanueva Benito Donostialdea IHO
Elena Zubillaga Azpiroz Donostialdea IHO elena.zubillagaazpiroz@osakidetza.eus


Scientific Output

Código: 2023333045
Investigador Principal (IP): MARIA CRISTINA GOENA VIVES
Entidad Financiadora: DEPARTAMENTO DE SALUD
Fecha de Inicio: 2023-01-01
Fecha de finalización: 2023-12-31
Importe Concedido: 15.002,78 €
Código: 2021111071/BD
Investigador Principal (IP): IÑAKI VILLANUEVA BENITO
Entidad Financiadora: DEPARTAMENTO DE SALUD
Fecha de Inicio: 2021-12-01
Fecha de finalización: 2024-10-31
Importe Concedido: 5.983,71 €