Experts Put Mavacamten in Perspective

An article published today in Circulation by HCM experts Dr. Steve Ommen of Mayo Clinic and Dr. Martin Maron of Tufts Medical Center, discusses the prospective use of mavacamten as a treatment for obstructive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. The doctors conclude that while mavacamten (assuming that it is FDA approved in early 2022) will have its place in the HCM tool kit, it should not replace septal reduction therapy for severe HOCM.

In particular, the article points out that the EXPLORER-HCM study showed modest improvements in symptoms and functional capacity (peak V02), comparable to those seen in the RESET-HCM study, which highlighted the ability of regular exercise to improve functional status in HCM.  

The article notes that there has not yet been a study directly comparing mavacamten with septal reduction therapies such as septal myectomy and alcohol septal reduction. The VALOR-HCM study, which is currently recruiting, will look at these therapies compared head-to-head.  It is noteworthy that the majority of patients in the EXPLORER trial had Class II heart failure and were not the more severely compromised Class III and IV patients most likely to benefit from myectomy or alcohol septal ablation.

This article compared historical myectomy data against the findings from EXPLORER, concluding that septal myectomy produces a better result for patients, with gradients abolished in more than 95% of patients compared to only 50% of patients with mavacamten.  And, the article points out that 25% of the patients in the EXPLORER trial continued to have left ventricular outflow tract gradients greater than or equal to 50mmHg, which still qualified them for septal reduction therapy.

Maron and Ommen’s take-home message is that mavacamten will be a welcome addition to the arsenal of HCM drugs and is potentially suitable for patients who do not have severe symptoms, who do not have access to septal reduction at a HCM specialty center, or who wish to avoid more invasive therapies.  It also may be used in the same way as disopyramide, to defer surgery by improving symptoms to a tolerable level.

Lastly, this article points out that there is a need for longer term follow up to study the effects of cardiac remodeling caused by mavacamten.

While it is wonderful to have options, it is important that patients and their medical team consider all available information, including potential benefit and risk, before moving forward with medical therapy. 

Could Septal Reduction Outcomes Vary by Gender?

A retrospective analysis recently published in JACC: Cardiovascular Interventions suggests that that the risks of septal reduction therapy may differ for men and women.

In particular, the study found that the need for a pacemaker following septal alcohol ablation was almost 3 times more likely for a female than for a male.

The authors suggested that the reason for this difference may have been more advanced disease among female patients, and a higher instance of myocardial fibrosis and calcification.  

Whatever the reason, this is another factor for patients to consider before deciding which method of septal reduction is best for them.

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.

Continue reading “The Future of HCM Care”

Should Alcohol Septal Ablation Be Considered for Younger Patients?

Since the early 1960s, surgical septal reduction, also known as septal myectomy, has been used as a therapy for the treatment of obstructive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Pioneered at the National Institute of Health by cardiac surgeon Dr. Glenn Morrow, himself a HCM patient, septal myectomy has become a mainstay of the HCM treatment arsenal.

An alternative to septal myectomy, alcohol septal ablation (ASA), was first performed by Ulrich Sigwart in the United Kingdom at the Royal Brompton Hospital in London in 1994.

For many years, the indications for ASA procedures has been limited to older patients with obstructive HCM who were not otherwise healthy enough to undergo open heart surgery.  However, some doctors are now advocating to expand the indications for ASA to include symptomatic younger patients.

(For more information about myectomy and ASA,  click here and scroll to bottom of page).

Continue reading “Should Alcohol Septal Ablation Be Considered for Younger Patients?”

Guest Blogger – Surgical Myectomy: A Twice in a Lifetime Experience – By Jill Celeste

I have had the joy of being a Registered Nurse for over 40 years. I was born wanting to be a nurse and started bandaging teddy bears at the age of three. By the age of 5, I was creating “medicines” by spinning blades of grass mixed with clover flowers in the front wheel well of an upside down tricycle.

As I got older, I moved on to be a Candy Striper and a Nurse’s Aide, and then I went on to get my degree as a RN, a BSN, and MSN and became a teacher, administrator, and researcher. All of this cannot REALLY prepare you for; “Being on the other side of the bed” which is what happens when a health care professional who is used to caring for patients becomes a patient themselves. Continue reading “Guest Blogger – Surgical Myectomy: A Twice in a Lifetime Experience – By Jill Celeste”

Alternative to Myectomy?

Could this minimally invasive procedure prove to be a viable alternative to septal myectomy or alcohol ablation for septal reduction?

Doctors at Minneapolis Heart Institute are planning a larger, multi-center trial to test the viability of this procedure as a larger scale treatment for HCM.

Recent Septal Reduction Updates

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We have all suspected it to be the case, but now a published study proves it: outcomes of septal reductions done in high volume centers are better than those done in low volume centers.  In this study, Dr. Luke Kim, et. al. did a quantitative analysis which showed that septal myectomies and septal alcohol ablation procedures which are performed in high volume centers come out better, while patients have fewer complications post procedure.

This editorial written by Drs. Steve Ommen and Rick Nishimura of Mayo Clinic’s HCM Center, citing the research of Kim, makes a very strong case that septal reduction procedures should be done ONLY in high volume centers.