Pietro Bajona, MD: Understanding Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

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Dr. Bajona highlights the patient risks of HCM, new advances in treatment options, and the importance of screening efforts.

New estimates suggest hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) affects 1 in 500 people in the United States, but numbers may be skewed by lack of diagnosis.

In an interview with HCPLive, Pietro Bajona, MD, Director of Hypertrophic Cardiomyopaty, Allegheny Health Network, highlighted the manifestations of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and risk factors involved in its diagnosis.

"If it is truly congenital, then the patient risks are patients who have family history," he said. "Patients who have someone in their family who had this condition, they definitely have 1 in 2 chance to get this condition as well."

Bajona noted two peaks of frequency of the disease, with the first happening in younger patients (20 years - early 40 years), while the seond peak happens later in life, in patients who are 60 - 70 years old.

He further discussed the medication options available once a symptomatic patient is diagnosed with HCM and the unmet needs that new classes of medication may be able to address.

Other topics Bajona discussed included the importance of screening for HCM, as a short while ago, it was not thought to be a very common disease. As screening increased, the prevalance in the general population was better understood and thus, education was improved as well.

"The prevalence of these diseases is actually up at 1 in 200 in the general population, so screening is very important and programs like ours have a very important role in increasing the education and increasing the chance of screening for these patients and their families," Bajona said.

Lastly, Bajona noted that once patients are diagnosed, they should be referred to HCM centers where the patients can be treated with all the tools available for the condition.

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