Life changing diagnosis gives hope to four generations living with a deadly heart disorder
In a world first breakthrough, scientists at the Victor
Chang Institute could now be able to prevent the onset of a deadly heart
condition that has haunted a family of more than 50 members for
After more than 10 years of meticulous research, Professor
Diane Fatkin and her team at the Victor Chang Institute, have pinpointed
the genetic mutation causing the problem.
Passed from generation to generation, the family suffers
from dilated cardiomyopathy, an inherited disorder that causes the heart
to enlarge, leads to heart failure and, often, sudden cardiac death.
The devastating disease has already claimed the lives of
four of their loved ones, with two other relatives receiving life-saving
Never knowing who will be struck down next, the family has been desperate to discover how to put an end to their suffering.
“Previously the family didn’t know who would develop this
terrible disease. Now, even with the children, we can tell who is at
risk, just from their DNA. Plus we can inform them at the earliest
possible stage,” Professor Fatkin revealed.
The discovery will enable doctors to start treating those
affected long before they start to show any signs or symptoms of heart
“We can start the family members on medication, modify
their lifestyle and ensure they have an echocardiogram every year. In
fact we believe through early intervention we might be able to delay the
onset of heart failure, or better yet prevent it altogether,” Professor
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