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. 

Patients Fare Best at HCM Specialty Centers

A recent retrospective study conducted by doctors at Yale -New Haven Health System found that patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy fare best when treated at a specialty center using a team approach to HCM. The study found that this was especially true for patients coming from disadvantaged backgrounds who often fare worse outside of a HCM specialty setting.

The findings of this study suggest that patients with HCM are best served when referred to HCM specialty care instead of receiving care solely from general cardiologists.

One Size Does NOT Fit All: Treatments Differ by Stage in HCM

There are distinct stages of HCM and treatments will vary according to the stage. Therefore, it is important, according to a recent article in the Netherlands Heart Journal, for patients to seek treatment from teams experienced in the the treatment of HCM.  These professionals are able to recognize transitions in the course of the disease as they occur, and then implement necessary changes in treatment.

In this thorough overview of HCM and its treatment, Dr. Iacopo Olivotto and his colleagues in the Netherlands observe that HCM is seen infrequently by community cardiologists (as compared to more common heart conditions like coronary artery disease). Hence, one of the major difficulties in HCM practice has been identification of patients at highest risk.

Continue reading “One Size Does NOT Fit All: Treatments Differ by Stage in HCM”

Guest Blogger – The View from a HCM Center – by Dr. Steve Ommen of Mayo Clinic’s HCM Center

Good stories usually have a protagonist who is confronted with a challenge or conflict.  The story then follows the protagonist’s journey to overcome that challenge.  Often, there are one or more attempts at conflict resolution which prove unsuccessful, or that even make things worse before the path to success is revealed. In the end, the best stories are those where that successful path was right in front of the protagonist the entire time.

The Challenge for HCM Patients: Local Cardiologist vs. Center of Excellence

For a good story related to the world of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, you need look no further than Jill Celeste’s HCMBeat blog post entitled “Myectomy:  A Twice in a Lifetime Experience.” The protagonist in this story is obviously Jill.  The conflict is the impact of her HCM symptoms on her quality of life.  Her journey included unsuccessful forays into different therapies before finally, Jill arrived at the resolution of her conflict by seeking care at a medical center with dedicated expertise in the treatment of HCM.

In the sake of full disclosure, that center happens to be Mayo Clinic where I work.  Jill’s great storytelling reminded me how some really clever books and movies tell the same story from a different point of view. In this blog post, I would like to give you my point of view as a physician who directs a HCM specialty center of the best way that you can navigate your own HCM.  I will share how care by a “center of excellence” can fit into the bigger picture of your HCM care and give you some suggestions for ways to balance so you can work well with both your local care team as well as a specialty center that may be a long way from your home. Continue reading “Guest Blogger – The View from a HCM Center – by Dr. Steve Ommen of Mayo Clinic’s HCM Center”

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”