The Future of HCM Care

Dr. Stephen Heitner, together with his colleagues at Oregon Health & Sciences University, published an article last week in the European Journal of Heart Failure which gives a glimpse into the treatment of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) in the future.  Although recent publications have stated that the majority of HCM patients today have a favorable prognosis when receiving appropriate treatment, a heavy disease burden continues to be placed upon patients.  Hence, better and more effective treatments for HCM are still needed in order to lessen this burden.

The article provides a very thorough overview of both current and future HCM therapies and divides them into a few different categories listed below.

Drugs:

  • Potential for New Drugs:  No drugs have been specifically approved for the treatment of HCM by the Federal Drug Administration. Up until now, all drugs used to treat HCM patients (with the limited exception of propanolol) have been off-label uses.  However, this is likely to soon change. Current trials of myosin modulators like MyoKardia’s mavacamten and Cytokinetic’s CK-274 have so far yielded promising results and have the potential to change the treatment paradigm for HCM.

 

Arrhythmia Management:

 

  • Subcutaneous ICDs (S-ICDs) are sometimes a reasonable choice for preventing sudden cardiac death in HCM patients when pacing is not required. This allows the patient to avoid risks associated with lead malfunction.

Septal Reduction Therapy:

 

Gene Editing and Silencing:

  • Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD):  Current medical technology allows patients with known HCM gene(s) to use pre-implantation genetic diagnosis of embryos together with in-vitro fertilization in order to avoid passing along the HCM gene to the embryo.  The future may soon see these methods being used in tandem with gene repair, using CRISPR/Cas9 in order to edit out the errant gene and replace it with a normal one.

 

  • Gene Silencing:  Allele specific gene silencing may also prove to be a technique used in the future for preventing HCM. This technique involves the introduction of an adenovirus containing a short RNA segment designed to turn off the HCM gene.

 

In conclusion, this paper highlights the many things that HCM patients have to be optimistic about going forward.  Perhaps one day soon one of these methods will lead to the ultimate goal – a cure!

Simple Lifestyle Changes Can Improve HCM Symptoms

This article by Dr. Stephen Heitner of Oregon Health & Science University covers some simple lifestyle changes that can help HCM patients feel much better. In particular, Dr. Heitner mentions:

  • Eating smaller meals and avoiding large carbohydrate rich meals.
  • Avoiding dehydration
  • Limiting alcohol
  • Avoiding exercise after eating
  • Engaging in moderate intensity exercise
  • Managing weight
  • Evaluating and treating sleep apnea and other sleep breathing disorders
  • Getting appropriate treatment for anxiety and depression

The above lifestyle changes, combined with appropriate medical treatment, will keep HCM patients feeling their best.