Scientists find better way to treat heart failure

In a new scientific statement, researchers suggest that the emerging practice of precision medicine could one day personalize heart failure care.

It will identify groups of patients more likely to develop heart failure and tailor which medications and other therapies could be most effective for them.

The statement was made by a team from the American Heart Association.

Precision medicine uses information about a person’s genetic make-up, metabolism, and other biological and environmental factors to determine what strategies can better prevent or treat a health condition.

The goal is to provide personalized treatment that is more likely to be successful for each individual patient, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach.

This new AHA statement provides a state-of-the-science overview of heart failure as it relates to the different aspects of precision medicine.

This includes how variations in genes, biomarkers in the blood or bacteria in the gut can predict the risk of heart failure and how a person may respond to various treatments.

The team aims to improve care for everyone with heart failure by more clearly defining the best treatment options for specific groups of people.

This statement details the potential of precision medicine to improve patient outcomes.

The prognosis for people with heart failure has improved in recent decades as research studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of various medications.

However, within those clinical trial populations are groups of people who are less likely to benefit from the drug and some who may have serious side effects.

Precision medicine approaches can help doctors identify who those non-responders or adverse responders are likely to be so we can find different treatment options for them.

Some aspects of precision medicine are already routinely used by healthcare providers treating heart failure.

For example, the blood level of a biomarker called B-type natriuretic peptide is a sensitive indicator of whether heart failure is worsening or if treatments are helping.

It can also help determine whether symptoms such as shortness of breath are due to heart failure rather than another medical problem.

Because health professionals may be unfamiliar with one or more precision medicine approaches, the statement aims to be an educational resource by combining information on how each applies to heart failure.

The lead author of the study is Sharon Cresci, M.D., chair of the statement writing group.

The study is published in the journal Circulation: Genomic and Precision Medicine.

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