Determining Genetic Heart Attack Risk

Mayo Clinic revieves grant to study inherited heart attack risk

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Some patients are simply at a higher risk of heart attacks and blood vessel diseases because of genetics. The problem is that all of those factors aren't known, making it tough for doctors to predict who is at risk.

The Mayo Clinic hopes to remedy that with a $3 million grant from the National Human Genome Research Institute that will be used to better pinpoint inherited risk, and also study adverse reactions to heart medications.

"Talk to your family about grandparent and great-grandparent's health."

Dr. Iftikhar Kullo, a Mayo Clinic cardiologist and co-principal investigator of the award, said that the research team will develop genetic risk scores for heart attacks and adverse drug reactions. They also will work to put together tools to better communicate genetic risks to patients and doctors.

He said the goal is to combine recent advances in genetics and pharmacogenetics and bring it to clinical practices. The research team plans to integrate those risk findings into electronic patient records as part of the four-year study, which would help doctors better understand patient needs.

This study marks the second phase of the Electronic Medical Records and Genomics Network, also known as eMERGE, an effort to use data from a large number of medical records for genome-wide association studies.

Investigators plan to identify the genetic variants linked to 21 diseases, then relate the disease traits using the genome studies. This may allow them to identify genes that cause or contribute to diseases. They will analyze the DNA of about 32,000 participants over the course of the study.

The first phase of the study was completed earlier this year. Researchers were able to identify genetic variants associated with dementia, cataracts, HDL cholesterol, red blood cells, type 2 diabetes and cardiac conduction defects.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
August 19, 2011
Last Updated:
August 21, 2011