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Researchers at Pace University Explore the Lived Experiences of Families Members That Have the Possible Risk of Genetic Mutations That Cause Sudden Cardiac Death
Date:11/8/2013

New York (PRWEB) November 08, 2013

As a researcher at Pace University in New York, Esma Paljevic, EdD, RN, CPNP, was astonished to find out that according to the American Heart Association there were 4000 deaths per year in individuals under the age of 35 due to undiagnosed disturbances of heart rhythm, such as long QT Syndrome (2009).

Paljevic is an assistant professor of nursing at Pace University’s College of Health Professions. She found this statistic to be especially alarming since the 2003 Human Genome Project has changed the general focus from disease management to disease prevention. Healthcare professionals now largely concentrate on providing personalized medicine to individuals instead of waiting for a potential sudden cardiac event. Paljevic is part of an interprofessional group of healthcare specialists in a “cardiogenetics clinic” that assesses, evaluates, tests and treats families at risk for sudden cardiac death.

One particular family that has benefited from this inter-professional cardio genetic approach to care is that of a 9 year old girl who lost her father and brother to sudden cardiac death a year ago.

Paljevic and her team were able to determine that both deceased members of her family had genetic mutations that caused their sudden cardiac death. They tested the young girl’s blood and found that she had the same mutation her father and brother had.

They then prescribed specific beta blockers and provided her with an internal defibrillator to prevent potential sudden cardiac events and prevent her from having the same deadly outcome to which her father and brother succumbed.

Paljevic does research on this comprehensive approach to cardiogenetic care that provides hope with scientific knowledge. Her recent research study explored the challenges that family members experience with feelings of guilt, fear and ambivalence of genetic testing. Her research uncovered the enc
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