Recognizing American Heart Month

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital February 9, 2016

Heart disease remains the leading cause of death among both men and women in the United States, but many advances are being made in the fight against heart disease. In recognition of American Heart Month, we have compiled videos from Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) Heart & Vascular Center experts to provide you with information on many of the latest approaches in heart disease treatment and prevention.

Targeting Inflammation– A Key to Preventing Heart Disease

Research led by Dr. Paul Ridker, Director of the BWH Center for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention, determined that people with higher blood levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a measure of inflammation, are at increased risk of having a heart attack or stroke in the future. In this video, Dr. Ridker discusses the role of inflammation in heart disease.

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Family Connections in Heart Disease

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital October 8, 2015

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy most commonly affects the left ventricle, the main pumping chamber of the heart.

Over the past several decades, researchers have discovered that many heart diseases are genetic (inherited), resulting in changes in how these diseases are diagnosed and managed.

“We believe that in cases of inherited heart disease, it is extremely important to focus care on the entire family,” explains Dr. Carolyn Ho, Medical Director of the Cardiovascular Genetics Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH). “In addition to developing and delivering therapies that are tailored for patients with inherited heart disease, we work closely with their families to identify those at risk of also developing the disease.”

One of the most common genetic heart diseases is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (also known as HCM), which affects between one in 500 and one in 1,000 people in the general population. HCM is characterized by an abnormal thickening of the heart muscle. The left ventricle, the main pumping chamber of the heart, is most commonly affected. BWH researchers determined that HCM is caused by mutations in a group of related genes within the sarcomere, a network of proteins that make up the molecular motor of the heart and coordinate the contraction and relaxation of the heart muscle. Other examples of inherited heart disease include Marfan syndrome, genetic dilated cardiomyopathy, and inherited cardiac arrhythmias.

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