Hypertension drug likely to reduce symptoms of genetic heart disease

December 31st, 2008 - 11:27 am ICT by IANS  

London, Dec 31 (IANS) Candesartan, a drug currently used in treating hypertension, may significantly reduce symptoms of genetic heart disease, according to a new study. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, or HCM, is a genetic heart disease where the heart muscle is thickened, especially in the left ventricle.

Although people with HCM usually display mild symptoms or are completely asymptomatic, up to one percent of affected people succumb to sudden cardiac death (SCD), often with no previous signs of illness.

HCM can be caused by mutations in a number of different genes, and different gene mutations may result in more or less severe symptoms.

Researchers lead by Jiri Krupicka of Na Homolce Hospital, Prague conducted a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomised study on the long-term administration of candesartan in patients with HCM.

Krupicka’s group found that candesartan reduced the symptoms of HCM, including decreasing the thickening of the left ventricle. This effect was found to be dependent on the underlying gene mutations in each patient. They did not observe any adverse effects of candesartan use over the course of their study.

Future studies in Penicka’s group will extend this pilot trial to more patients to confirm the current findings and to identify the mechanism by which candesartan improves left ventricle thickening, said a Na Homolce release.

The study will appear in the January issue of The Journal of Molecular Diagnostics.

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