MJH Now Testing Patients for Genetic Cardiac Issues - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

MJH Now Testing Patients for Genetic Cardiac Issues

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Spending a couple minutes getting a blood test could mean getting years of your life back later on.

Martha Jefferson Hospital just started offering a genetic test that can help patients suffering from cardiac issues. The testing is new and the hospital hasn't even had a patient for it yet. It's called cardiac genetic counseling.

It works like this: Say a young person with healthy lifestyle choices suddenly has a heart attack. Doctors say this could mean they have something wrong with the physical structure of their heart. It's unlikely their heart attack would be from their lifestyle, because they don't smoke or have unhealthy diets. The new hereditary cardiac clinic will determine if a patient has a defect in their heart that is genetic.

"We're talking about you know, when you get that 18-year-old football player drop dead on the field or a 35-year-old needing a pacemaker because her heart is beating at an abnormal rhythm. Those are really the cardiac issues that we're speaking about,” said Martha Thomas, genetic counselor.

Patients are tested through a basic blood draw, and it only takes filling up two small tubes.

Doctors say if there's something wrong with your heart's physical structure, you are always better off knowing. That way, patients can use a pacemaker or the proper device to prevent future health problems.

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