Genetic Study Shows Racial Differences to be Factor in Mortality in Heart Attack Patients Receiving Anti-Platelet Therapy

Dr. Sharon Cresci and a team of Washington University researchers have identified the first genetic variations linked to race that begin to explain a higher risk of death among some African-American and Caucasian patients taking the clopidogrel (Plavix) after a heart attack.

These variants increased patients’ risk of dying in the year following a first heart attack, but they appeared to do so for different reasons depending on race, according to a recently published study in Circulation: Cardiovascular Genetics. In particular, the team found that two DNA variants common in African Americans were associated with an increased risk of both bleeding and death. In Caucasians, a different variant was linked to additional heart attacks and a higher risk of death. “The research is proactive”, said the study’s first author, cardiologist Sharon Cresci, MD, assistant professor of medicine and of genetics. “Knowing about potential genetic differences based on race can help physicians tailor drugs to patients based on their genetic makeup.” The research is published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Genetics.

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