Genetics research is at the cutting edge of cardiovascular care with arrhythmia syndrome screening advancements and opportunities for personalized medicine.
This article first appeared in the July/August 2016 issue of HealthLeaders magazine.
Cardiovascular care is often on the cutting edge of medicine, but hospitals are now making progress toward the next generation of cardiology with genetic testing and treatment that enable care to be far more targeted than past service lines. Contrasting the usual focus on identifying those at risk for cardiovascular issues, one of the main goals now is to identify those who are not at risk and to keep them healthy and out of the healthcare system.
The drive for more targeted care stems in part from years of criticism for the overuse of stents and other unnecessary treatment in cardiovascular care, but advances in genetics research are leading to what could be dramatic steps forward. Much of the leading edge in cardiovascular care involves the study of patients with genetic arrhythmia syndromes, in which otherwise healthy young people die suddenly or develop life-threatening heart rhythms.
At the forefront of that effort is Melvin Scheinman, MD, chief of the Comprehensive Genetic Arrhythmia Program at the University of California, San Francisco, which is devoted to discovering new genes related to heart rhythm disorders. Scheinman was one of the pioneers of cardiac electrophysiology, and he says genetics advancements could bring similarly dramatic changes in cardiovascular care.
Gregory A. Freeman is a contributing writer for HealthLeaders.