The Impact of Genetics on Cardiology


Cardiovascular diseases (CVD), alongside stroke, continue to be one of the most worrying medical concerns in the US. Get this: approximately 835,500 Americans succumb to death because of heart disease or stroke every year. This translates to a whopping 2,300 cardiovascular disease deaths in the US per day. And just to drive the point home, one American dies from heart attack, stroke or other CVDs every 38 seconds. What a wake-up call!

As if that isn’t terrifying enough, there are currently more than 92 million adult Americans living with some form of heart disease or dealing with the aftermath of a stroke/heart attack. That’s why it comes as a huge reprieve to know that genetics has been paving way for groundbreaking innovations in the world of cardiology. Genetics is causing a seismic shift in the way cardiovascular diseases are treated and prevented.

Read along to learn more about how genetics has improved heart disease detection, monitoring, and quality of treatment and care for cardiovascular patients.


How Genetics Has Changed Cardiovascular Prevention and Patient Care

Priority Testing

According to Simon Stertzer, the pioneer of coronary angioplasty in the US and the co-founder of BioCardia, family history, and genetics are some of the biggest risk factors that contribute to the development of heart disease, alongside poor diet, sedentary lifestyle, smoking, obesity, and diabetes. In 1978, Dr. Stertzer made history by performing the first coronary balloon angioplasty in the United States.

Today, his clinical-stage biotechnology regenerative medicine company, BioCardia, is responsible for developing stem cell therapies that can help treat heart failure. Of more relevance to this article is that BioCardia also provides best-in-class personalized genetic screenings which help determine which patients would most benefit from an intramyocardial injection of therapeutic agents.

This is a classic example of how genetics has enabled priority clinical trials in cardiology. Otherwise, it would have become quite difficult to know which patients deserve clinical stem cell therapies the most. This way, researchers and cardiologists can prioritize their efforts and procedures towards patients that will help take the clinical trial or a program to the next level.

Genetic Testing for Cardiovascular Disease

Early detection of cardiovascular disease and other risk factors like diabetes, hypertension, and Atrial Defibrillation can make a huge difference when it comes to prevention. If it turns out that a patient has a gene mutation that causes a CVD like dilated cardiomyopathy, for instance, he or she can be advised by the physician accordingly. If elective surgery, coronary angioplasty or injection will do the trick; the patient will get a headstart way before the risk factors are triggered.

By discovering early that you carry the genes responsible for heart disease, you will take necessary measures in order to keep your ticker healthy and strong. You will eat for your heart, exercise regularly, avoid risk factors like smoking, and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Genetic Counseling

Knowing your cardiovascular genetic predisposition might not come as positive news, but prevention is always better than treatment. Gene technology allows families (and individual members) to understand why cardiovascular disease might remain prevalent for generations in their lineage. Remember if someone carries the cardiomyopathy gene, he or she has a so-so chance of handing it down to their offspring.

By leveraging gene bio-testing, you can explain to every family member way early in their lives if they carry gene mutation and, therefore, embrace prevention interventions before the cardiovascular disease occurs. Otherwise put, genetic testing will equip at-risk families with crucial knowledge.

On the upside, any family member who is found not to have the cardiovascular gene will be certain that he or she will not pass the gene on to their offspring. This will provide a sense of relief and extra peace of mind to non-carriers.

How Genetics Has Changed the Practice of Cardiology

Genetics Has Made Prognostic Testing Easy and More Accurate

When it comes to cardiovascular disease with genotype-phenotype correlations, genetics can help cardiologist to more precisely align the patient’s prognosis with the condition. In layman terms, genetic testing has made it easy for cardiovascular specialists to determine whether a patient is at low or high risk of stroke, heart attack or cardiac death. The biggest impact is that cardiologists can make more precise decisions when it comes to therapies and treatment strategies.

Next-Level Diagnostics

Besides prognostic testing, gene technology is crucial for the precise diagnosis of cardiovascular diseases caused by gene mutation or inheritance. While it’s not widely used in cardiology, genetic testing has helped cardiologist make an incredibly correct diagnosis and timely intervention.

Genetics Has Fueled Health Innovations and Technologies in Cardiology

Given that 14 percent of all healthcare costs go towards cardiovascular disease, new technologies and smart treatments are needed now more than ever before. Thankfully, advances in genetics fuel an array of technologies and innovations in cardiovascular health, including digitally enabled cardiovascular interventions. The good news is that these innovations in heart disease treatment have managed to reduce cardiovascular hospital readmissions by over 23%. These include but not limited to:

(1) Genetics and Big Data in Prevention and Patient Care

Big data is a buzz term you’ll hear often in the business space. It entails the process of gathering and analyzing a massive amount of complex data sets to gain precise insights into how to solve a particular problem. It so happens that genetics and big data is a match made in heaven. It allows cardiologists and researchers to analyze an array of patient data in order to detect cardiovascular diseases early and instigate preventive measures on a timely manner. 

(2) Genetics and AI in Cardiology

Artificial intelligence is revolutionizing gene technology which, in turn, makes it easy for cardiologists and pharmaceutical companies to design more precise and personalized treatment regimens and medicine.

(3) Smart Wearables + Gene Technology = Better Patient Care

Genetic testing help determine which patients are at high risk of heart disease. With this knowledge, clinicians and cardiologists can suggest how the patient can use smart wearables like Fitbit to maintain robust heart health.


This post comes from JGBilling, a medical coding outsourcing company


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