Dilated cardiomyopathy, a congenital condition that weakens the heart, is the top reason people end up having heart transplants. The organ simply begins to fail on them. If caught early enough, the condition can be treated with medication, but in most cases it’s diagnosed too late. Without transplant, the survival rate, even in pediatric diagnoses, is only 42 percent after ten years. Mayo genetic cardiologist Timothy Olson, M.D. and his team embarked on a study of families with a history of the condition. In doing so, they were able to find a new gene that caused the condition in this clinical subset of patients. He says it would have been like trying to find a needle in a haystack, were it not for recent advances in science.
Hear Dr. Olson discuss how the study was done.
Dr. Olson says now that the gene has been identified, research can begin at understanding the mechanism of the gene and its specific purpose. The study appeared in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (Brauch et al).