Vim & Vigor - Summer 2020 - UVA - 5

PROTECTING
OUR KIDS
Along with helmets and
shinguards, a massive
research study aims
to keep athletes safe
BY KELLY CASEY

MAIN PHOTO BY GETTY IMAGES

T

his tragic event catches the media's
attention every year: A seemingly
healthy athlete suddenly dies on the
high school or college field. Behind many of
these tragedies is the most common genetic
heart condition. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) often goes undiagnosed and
affects as many as 1 million Americans. HCM
causes an abnormal thickening of the heart that
can lead to sudden cardiac death at any age and
at any time, even while a child is sleeping.
Fortunately, experts are gaining valuable
insights on HCM. By launching the most
comprehensive study ever done on this complex condition, they hope to determine the
best treatment strategies, says UVA Heart and
Vascular Center cardiologist Christopher M.
Kramer, MD, one of the study's leaders.
The $14.4 million study has developed a
registry of more than 2,750 patients at 44 sites
in six countries. Early study
findings suggest that people
with HCM can largely be
put into two groups: those
with a clearly defined genetic
mutation who tend to have
Christopher M.
more scarring of the heart
Kramer, MD,
muscle and those with no
UVA Heart and
such mutation who tend to
Vascular Center
have no scarring but more
cardiologist
obstruction of blood flow.
This is helpful information
for doctors. "The more we
can understand and group
patients into categories," Dr. Kramer says, "the
better we will be able to learn what the best
therapies are." *

5

An App for a
Deadly Heart
Condition?
UVA researchers and colleagues
worldwide are collecting a
treasure trove of information
from a massive study on hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which
can lead to sudden cardiac
death. They hope to use this
information to develop an app
to help doctors predict people's risk for the condition and
save lives. Learn more on the
UVA Making of Medicine blog
at uvahealth.com/hcm.

VIM & VIGOR SUMMER 2020

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3/24/20 1:23 PM


http://www.uvahealth.com/hcm

Vim & Vigor - Summer 2020 - UVA

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