Purpose: To describe genetic knowledge and discovery in the area of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and to discuss how these new advances will influence the clinical care of affected people.
Organizing Framework: A selective review of the literature is presented on the disease mechanism of both the Mendelian and multifactorial genetic cardiovascular conditions. A case study approach is used to illustrate how the genetic paradigm affects the healthcare experience of a family affected with familial hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
Findings: The current state of CVD treatment remains complex. An understanding of genomic concepts and a genome-based approach is necessary to determine: (a) the risk of CVD susceptibility beyond traditional risk factors; (b) early detection of illness; (c) response to treatment; and (d) molecular taxonomy of the disease.
Conclusions: The results of genetic research, education, and teaching will lead to a new understanding of genes and pathways, resulting in powerful new therapeutic approaches to CVD. The challenge is to translate genetic discoveries into clinical practice that ultimately leads to preventing CVD and reducing mortality.