The cardiogenomics clinic uses a patient’s genetic history to help develop a personalized treatment plan based on their genetic results.
Cardiovascular Institute determined that genetics may also play a role in the development of cardiovascular risk factors. The UAB Cardiogenomics Clinic uses a patient’s genetic history to help develop a personalized treatment plan based on their genetic results.Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, with one person dying from heart disease every 36 seconds. Although lifestyle factors play a major role in cardiovascular disease risk, experts from the University of Alabama at Birmingham
“The approach to understanding the risk of developing life-threatening heart disease can vary, from using the latest advances in genetics to simply talking to our grandparents,” said Ali Al-Beshri, MD, assistant professor in the Department of Genetics at UAB. “As technology has evolved, we have gained a better understanding of what to do and how to manage those at risk of inheriting cardiovascular disease. Additionally, the latest advances in genetic medicine such as gene-based therapies are increasingly common in the clinical pipeline.
Inherited heart conditions can often go undetected for years, but most of these conditions have a strong genetic basis that can help healthcare experts identify them early and take preventative action. The Cardiogenomics Clinic helps patients interpret their genetic results and provides genomic counseling, comprehensive cardiovascular evaluation and treatment plan for common cardiovascular conditions such as hypertension, heart attack, heart failure, stroke cerebral, valvulopathies and diseases of the blood vessels.
“Inherited cardiovascular diseases include abnormally high cholesterol, cardiomyopathy and arrhythmias; but many of these conditions can be managed through screenings, follow-ups, prevention and other treatment options,” said Pankaj Arora, MD, associate professor in the UAB Division of Cardiovascular Diseases and director of the UAB Cardiogenomics Clinic. “Often, patients have to visit multiple centers and coordinate their clinical care. Our clinic is designed to ease the worries of family members and patients with inherited cardiovascular diseases and provide the services they need in one place.
Arora says many of their patients realize they are at risk for a particular condition after hearing about a relative’s experience. This can lead to confusion about the best way to do this.
“The value of an extensive family history cannot be overstated,” explained Taylor McClinchey, a clinical genetics counselor at the clinic. “When we see a patient, we do not take care of a single patient but their whole family. The clinic provides team-based care for patients and their families so they understand what to do if they have a genetic variation and how it affects them, their children and loved ones.
The role of genomic medicine in cardiology has grown significantly in recent years and is now used to treat a variety of conditions, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, heart attacks and strokes.
“We better understand that high blood pressure is determined by a composite of common genetic variations summarized as a polygenic risk score,” said Vibhu Parsha, MD, clinical researcher. “These genetic risk scores help to accurately predict the risk of cardiovascular events in the future and allow us to tailor our treatment plan. However, the clinical integration of these tools is still pending.
UAB CARBON is a cardiogenomic biobanking effort led by Arora and Parcha as part of UAB’s Cardiovascular Clinical and Translational Research Program. This program brings the same clinical research based on genomic medicine that is used in underrepresented communities.
The clinic offers a wide range of cardiology health care services for people of all ages and those with all types of heart disease in the southeastern United States.