Genetic test may help determine heart surgery complication risk

May 1st, 2009 - 5:05 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, May 1 (ANI): A new study has revealed that a simple genetic test can help determine a patient’s risk of developing complications following cardiac surgery.

While cardiac surgery puts an individual at risk for developing shock and kidney failure, there are no effective medications to prevent these complications.

When shock occurs, patients are often given norepinephrine to stimulate their blood vessels and normalize their blood pressure however, people respond differently to the medication.

Lead researchers Duska Dragun and Anja Haase-Fielitz, from Charite Universitatsmedizin Berlin, Germany, studied the gene that encodes COMT in 260 patients who underwent heart bypass surgery.

They found that a particular genetic variant in some individuals can lead to lower activity of the COMT enzyme, which makes them less responsive to norepinephrine’s effects.

People who had this variant (called LL) were more likely to develop shock and kidney failure, requiring a hospital stay for a longer period of time.

The link between the COMT LL variant and these complications may be pronounced in women because protective estrogen metabolites can be inactivated by norepinephrine.

The researchers claim that if the results are confirmed in larger clinical trials, physicians could use a COMT gene test to help them determine a patient’s risk of developing complications following cardiac surgery and could therefore help them prepare for their patient’s post-surgery care. (ANI)

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