Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Researchers identify new heart condition (Sweden)

The discovery of a new heart condition may prevent more young people from becoming victims of cardiac arrest, a leading cause of death in the United States. According to the Heart Rhythm Foundation, sudden cardiac arrest - which happens when the body's blood-pumping organ abruptly stops working - claims about 325,000 lives every year in the United States. Researchers in Sweden have discovered a new disorder linked to cardiac arrest that almost took a young man's life. A genetic defect in the protein glycogenin can lead to an energy crisis in muscle cells and ultimately cause cardiac arrest. The protein's function is to initiate the build-up of glycogen that makes up muscle cells' carbohydrate reserves. When the genetic defect causes the protein to malfunction, the body - including the heart - experiences a shortage of glycogen. Scientists discovered the defect in a young patient who suffered sudden cardiac arrest in Sweden. Experts say the newly discovered condition should be considered as a diagnosis when investigating heart trouble, although there is currently no cure. Source: New England Journal of Medicine, April 19, 2010

No comments: