Medical Minute: Heart Transplant Breakthrough

Posted 3/19 at 6:15pm

Candace Moose moves fast these days. Five years ago, a new heart gave her a new life. Since then, there's been no slowing her down.

Candace Moose said, "I swim on a regular basis at my local YMCA. I play tennis. I play golf… not very well."

But once every few months, all this comes to a stop. Like most heart transplant patients, Candace goes back to the hospital for a biopsy to make sure her immune system isn't attacking her heart.

Mario Deng, MD, Cardiologist, said, "The state of the art way of detecting rejection is by taking four to six little pieces out of the heart muscle by biopsies."

It's an invasive, risky, and uncomfortable procedure.

Candace Moose said, "The first needle prick hurts and after that there's a great deal of pressure on your neck."

Surgeons thread a catheter to the heart's right ventricle, where tiny scissors cut off tissue samples. But now a simple blood test promises to replace all this. Patients can't wait.

Joseph Rumore said, "In comparison, in a minute I would do a blood test."

And that's really all it takes! The Allomap test analyzes a patient's genes to see if there's any damage to the heart. If patients test negative, they have less than a one-percent chance of rejection. If they test positive, doctors can adjust their anti-rejection meds.

Mario Deng added, "The patients are excited about this. They perceive this as a tremendous advance in their quality of life."

And for Candace, that means more time for the things she loves.

For more info:
New York Presbyterian Hospital
(866) 697-6397

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