A recent article by doctors from the University of Utah Health Sciences Center found that patients with HCM who are in need of heart transplantation may wait longer for a new heart than patients with other cardiomyopathies. Additionally, HCM patients may experience stroke or other adverse consequences while awaiting transplant.
The discrepancy is attributable, in part, to the fact that HCM patients are not often candidates for LVADs (left ventricular assist devices) and other types of mechanical circulatory support devices which are used to bridge patients awaiting transplant.
Hence, the article argues, United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS -the organization responsible for the allocation of donor organs in the U.S.) should take these factors into consideration as it revises its system of heart allocation for patients awaiting transplant.
On a positive note, the article points out that long-term survival in HCM patients has improved over time, and HCM patients now do as well or better following transplant than patients who have been transplanted for other types of cardiomyopathy.
According to this New York Times article, the genetic repair process CRISPR may make it possible for pig hearts to replace human hearts. If this technology works, it would be good news for those awaiting transplant.
Currently, there are limited organs available with strict protocols for eligibility. A new source of suitable donor organs would be a great advance for heart transplantation.
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.
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