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Gene Test Could Spot Dangerous Heart Condition

A number of genetic markers may help pinpoint long QT syyndrome

THURSDAY, Dec. 22, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers say they've developed a new gene-based test for long QT syndrome (LQTS), a heart condition that can predispose people to cardiac arrhythmias and sudden death.

A team from the S. Maugeri Foundation, in Pavia, Italy, conducted genetic testing on 430 LQTS patients and 1,115 of their family members, looking for mutations linked to the disorder.

They identified 235 different mutations -- including 138 new ones -- in 310 (72 percent) of the 430 patients. The team confirmed its findings by testing for the mutations in a separate group of 75 LQTS patients.

The findings appear in the Dec. 21 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

"We have developed an approach to improve the efficiency of genetic screening for LQTS," the researchers wrote. The new method "may facilitate the access to genetic testing to a broader group of individuals, such as patients receiving drugs that prolong LQTS interval; family members of individuals with idiopathic ventricular fibrillation; and depending on results of further investigation, members of the general population to define the prevalence of known genetic variants of LQTS."

More information

The American Heart Association has more about LQTS.

SOURCE: Journal of the American Medical Association, news release, Dec. 21, 2005
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