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Timothy C. Wong, MD, director, Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Center:
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a interesting condition in that there's multiple facets to how people present with the disease and also due to the fact that it's quite rare and it only affects about one in 500 people.
So our vision is for the Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Center to be a resource for physicians and patients. The center provides a whole range of diagnostic capabilities so we can pinpoint the diagnosis to referring physicians. And also for our patients, our vision is that they feel at home and they feel that we can provide the entire range of their needs, from basic services such as counseling and nutritional support, to advance therapy such as ablation and surgical septal myectomy.
We participate in national trials involving novel drug development so that we can offer cutting edge therapy to our patients who have exhausted traditional therapy. We also do investigative initiated studies where we can take imaging modalities and look at novel imaging biomarkers and study how these can improve our understanding of the disease.
We are now participating in national trials called Maverick HCM and Explore HCM that are the first to test this medication in human subjects on a larger scale basis. And we're really excited to be able to offer our patients the ability to participate in this potentially new therapy.
We're on the cutting edge of developing our own investigator initiative protocols to better understand hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. So we're currently funded by the American Heart Association to use cardiac MRI to better understand a prognosis and also disease phenotype in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy patients. Physicians on a routine basis will come across these special patients but may or may not recognize that they need targeted care. And one of our goals is to meet this gap by working with information technology, so we have ongoing protocols aimed at developing automated ways of identifying red flags that may suggest the presence of a rare disease and learning which protocols are best to identify patients who most merit a more targeted evaluation.
Learn more about the Division of Vascular Surgery and UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute.