Researchers have identified four variations in a gene known as BAG3 that are linked to a poor outcome. Genetic testing is a powerful diagnostic tool that is increasingly being used for the diagnosis of dilated cardiomyopathy, a disease in which the heart becomes enlarged, making it difficult to pump blood. Cardiomyopathy affects more than 3.5 million people in the United States.
African Americans are at especially high risk but have been underrepresented in genetic studies, often due to socioeconomic barriers and other health disparities. The study was published in the journal JAMA Cardiology, is the first to describe genetic variants that are almost exclusive to African Americans that impact the outcome in dilated cardiomyopathy patients.