Washington: Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis have found new genetic differences in hearts with disease.The finding might explain gender differences in heart disease and ultimately lead to personalized treatment of various heart ailments.Generally, men are more susceptible to developing atrial fibrillation, an irregular, rapid heartbeat that may lead to stroke, while women are more likely to develop long-QT syndrome, a rhythm disorder that can cause rapid heartbeats and sudden cardiac death.While prior studies have clearly established differences in the development of heart disease between men and women, very few studies had looked at the molecular mechanisms behind those differences in human hearts.Igor Efimov, PhD, the Lucy and Stanley Lopata Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Engineering in the School of Engineering and Applied Science at Washington University in St. Louis, and a former doctoral student, Christina Ambrosi, PhD, analyzed 34 human hearts looking for genetic differences.The team took advantage of the unique opportunity at the university to obtain failing human hearts at the time of transplantation from Barnes-Jewish Hospital and non-failing hearts unsuitable for transplantation from Mid-America Transplant Services, a St. Louis-based organ procurement service.
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