Genetic testing is a powerful diagnostic tool that is increasingly being used for the diagnosis of dilated cardiomyopathy, a disease in which the heart becomes enlarged, making it difficult to pump blood. Cardiomyopathy affects more than 3.5 million people in the United States. African Americans are at especially high risk but have been underrepresented in genetic studies, often due to socioeconomic barriers and other health disparities.
For Elroy, a special moment is reading his granddaughter her favorite story, or getting out on the court to teach his grandsons how to shoot a jump shot. A few years ago, Elroy had a heart attack, then another one. His heart was failing.
Over the last two decades, MCSDs have been developed to augment or supplant failing myocardial performance. This therapy has been used successfully as a bridge to heart transplantation, a bridge to recovery, and as permanent implantation or "destination therapy" for intractable heart failure. Although heart transplantation offers life-saving therapy for selected patients, its use is limited by a supply of donor organs that currently meets less than one-tenth the need. As a consequence, the number of MCSD implantations has increased in recent years.