A new screening method for Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) – a condition that causes sudden and unexplained cardiac failure – has seen a significant increase in accuracy.
At present, the genetic test used to detect HCM is only accurate 40 per cent of the time but an innovative new method from the Mayo Clinic has increased this to 79 per cent.
The new method was pioneered by Steve Ommen, director of the Mayo's HCM Clinic, and focuses on new imaging information.
HCM is a hereditary condition which occurs when the heart muscle thickens and enlarges and tissue cells become disorganised causing the pumping action of the heart to be altered.
The new research by the Mayo Clinic boosts the sensitivity of the HCM detection rate with the image-gene screen combo and will allow physicians to more accurately identify which families need testing for the condition.
Dr Ommen said: "Our finding helps families two ways: short term and in the future. In terms of the most immediate application, the echocardiographic shape of the heart can help physicians give families more meaningful and accurate information about the role of genetic testing for that specific family.
"In terms of the future, it presents a research opportunity to explore how and why this distinct trait of heart anatomy occurs, which hopefully will give us a better handle on HCM all around and help us design interventions to prevent or correct this defect."