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Dr. Christine Seidman, Director of the Cardiovascular Genetics Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and her team have developed novel approaches to evaluate and care for patients with inherited heart disease and their families.

In some families, heart disease occurs more frequently than in the general public. Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital have spent years studying heart disease in these families to pinpoint genetic changes that lead to the development of heart disease.

“Our team has pioneered diagnostic testing for patients at risk for genetic forms of heart disease,” said Dr. Christine Seidman, Director of the Cardiovascular Genetics Center at BWH. “We can now determine if an individual carries a dangerous genetic variant and intervene to treat or help prevent damage to the heart.”

Examples of inherited heart diseases include hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), arrhythmias, Marfan syndrome, and inherited aortic aneurysms. Caring for someone with an inherited heart disease includes the patient’s family, particularly the patient’s siblings and children. Genetic testing can be performed to determine risk in these family members. Preventative measures or therapies may be recommended for those found to be at elevated risk.  Devices and medications, for example, may be used to prevent the development of abnormal heart rhythms. Young people at risk for disease may be advised to avoid highly strenuous exercise, such as in competitive sports.

Learn more about inherited heart disease, including exciting new research underway at BWH, in this video with Dr. Seidman.

-Jessica F.

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