Genetic Testing Helps Identify Inherited Heart Condition
Kristen Criss, aged 38 from Riverside, California, was always battling health issues like arrhythmias or irregular heartbeats triggered by electrical malfunctions in the heart. When her heart was not once but eight times shocked back into a normal rhythm while pregnant, she was determined to know the exact cause of this. After all, her mother and sister had passed away due to a heart condition, while her father had succumbed to complications from a stroke. “Genetic Testing for Inherited Heart Disease“
Criss was determined to find the reason behind the heart-related complications, and hence recently took a genetic test. The test revealed that she is suffering from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), the same condition that took the life of her mother and sister at ages 40 and 33, respectively. She also learned that arrhythmia is a symptom of HCM, a rare condition associated with sudden cardiac death. This condition occurs when heart muscle cells enlarge and in turn cause the walls of the ventricles to thicken. Once the ventricle walls are thickened, blood flow gets blocked.
Then, in February 2018, Criss was at a high risk of cardiac arrest due to HCM. So, the doctors implanted a cardioverter defibrillator under her skin. The cardioverter defibrillator is a small device that shocks the heart back into a normal rhythm when it starts to beat irregularly.
Knowing that three members of the same family suffered from the same condition, Criss was frightened for her children – daughter Sariah and sons Braxton and Avery. Were they at high risk for HCM? Or like her, did they have HCM? To seek answers to her questions, Criss arranged genetic tests for her kids. All three were tested negative for the genetic mutation related to HCM. The good news was celebrated with some ice cream and joyful smiles.
“The disease literally stops with me,” Criss said.
Kristen’s experience goes on to show the power of genetic testing. Most people around the world are still unaware of the more than 6000 genetic disorders and how they can impact our lives. Hence, it’s essential to seek genetic counselling to understand our risk for genetic disorders. You can seek genetic consultation in India at truGeny. The healthcare company not only offers genetic counselling, but also genetic tests to determine your risk for cancer and cardiovascular diseases. “Genetic Testing for Inherited Heart Disease“