Beaumont First in Michigan to Test Drug to Prevent Atrial Fibrillation

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Beaumont Health System is the first in Michigan to participate in a national study testing a new drug treatment for the prevention of atrial fibrillation — a heart rhythm disorder that increases the risk of stroke — in patients with heart failure.

The study, which will involve about 200 patients at about 50 centers in the U.S. and Canada in its first phase, will compare the effectiveness of the drug bucindolol hydrochloride with that of metoprolol succinate, which is approved for the treatment of heart failure but not for the prevention of atrial fibrillation.

“This is an important study of personalized medicine,” says Dr. David Haines, director of Beaumont’s Heart Rhythm Center and the study’s principal investigator. “One of the challenges in the treatment of (atrial fibrillation) in patients with heart failure is that we sometimes need to try many different drugs in a trial and error fashion to find out what’s going to work. By doing genetic testing, we’ll be able to identify those patients who may get an optimal response to this new drug.”

About half of the U.S. population is believed to have the specific gene variation that responds to bucindolol in the suppression and prevention of atrial fibrillation, which affected between 2.7 to 6.1 million people in the United States in 2010. When combined with heart failure, the disorder can significantly impair a patient’s quality of life.

For more information about participation in the study, which will last a minimum of six months or up to four years, call cardiology research at 248-898-8141 or click here.

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