Pathway Genomics recently released its newest genetic testing service, the Cardiac Health InsightSM, which reveals how an individual’s genes may affect cardiovascular wellness and includes 24 heart-related conditions.

“The cardiac panel is an exciting product because it’s both focused and expansive, with a lot of actionable data.” said Dr. Michael Nova, Pathway’s chief medical officer. “It addresses a wide variety of cardiac-related traits, from risk for atrial fibrillation and hypertension to how a patient may respond to beta blockers and clopidogrel, and it’s an incredibly useful report for any physician and patient concerned about heart health.”

“The cardiac panel is an exciting product because it’s both focused and expansive, with a lot of actionable data.” said Dr. Michael Nova, Pathway’s chief medical officer.

The Cardiac Health Insight includes tests for genetic variants that are associated with a broad range of heart-related conditions. Patients can now easily learn about their genetic risk for factors that contribute to heart disease, cholesterol levels and responses to medication.

Part of the panel contains tests for over 50 variants associated with seven common diseases and health conditions. A person’s genetic profile contributes to risk levels for complex traits, such as diabetes, hypertension and myocardial infarction. Though a patient’s environment also influences these conditions, a doctor may see a more complete picture of a patient’s health by knowing the amount of risk contributed by a patient’s genes.

Part of the panel contains tests for over 50 variants associated with seven common diseases and health conditions. A person’s genetic profile contributes to risk levels for complex traits, such as diabetes, hypertension and myocardial infarction.

In addition to markers associated with disease, over 25 genetic variants tied to metabolic health factors are tested in the Cardiac Health Insight. Levels of low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and triglycerides impact a person’s risk for cardiovascular disease, and each of these factors can be influenced by genetics. Another test on the panel assesses a patient’s risk for decreased folate and increased homocysteine levels, which are also linked to cardiovascular disease. These factors are important to consider when gauging heart health.

Half of the reported phenotypes included in the Cardiac Health Insight are related to medication responses, and six of them are new to Pathway’s menu of services. A critical component of heart attack prevention and treatment is medication, and a patient’s genetic profile can influence the body’s response to a physician’s prescription. The Cardiac Health Insight contains information related to medications from eight drug classes, including such targets as anti-platelet aggregation, anticoagulants, stimulants, statins, beta blockers, ACE inhibitors, calcium channel blockers and hormone therapies.

A critical component of heart attack prevention and treatment is medication, and a patient’s genetic profile can influence the body’s response to a physician’s prescription.

Pathway scientists developed six new tests with the Cardiac Health Insight in mind. Recent studies have identified genetic variants that are associated with drugs that are prescribed to treat hypertension. For example, genetic variation can affect the survival benefits of beta blockers in heart failure patients. Genetic variation can also influence the amount of time required for a patient to reach controlled blood pressure on the calcium-channel blocker, verapamil. A patient’s genetic profile can even indicate if verapamil is preferable to the beta blocker atenolol. By understanding the information in a patient’s DNA, physicians may be able to save time and avoid adverse effects when prescribing heart-related medications.

 

In fact, the NIH Clinical Pharmacogenetics Implementation Consortium has clinical recommendations for two anticoagulants in the Cardiac Health Insight: warfarin (Coumadin and others) and clopidogrel (Plavix). Optimal dosing levels for warfarin vary widely among patients, but genetic information can help predict what doses will be appropriate for an individual. For clopidogrel, approximately 20 to 60 percent of the population has a variant of the CYP2C19 enzyme that is associated with increased risk for adverse effects when taking clopidogrel. These two drugs serve as established examples of how genetic testing can improve patient care.

The Cardiac Health Insight provides physicians with an individualized survey of a patient’s DNA as it relates to heart health. We hope that this new panel of tests serves as a useful tool for individuals who want to improve cardiovascular wellness.

 

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