May 29, 2024
Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

New Drug Enhances Oxygen Use in Patients with Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, Improving Exercise Capacity

A recent clinical trial, published in the New England Journal of Medicine and presented at the European Society of Cardiology’s Heart Failure 2024 meeting in Lisbon, Portugal, revealed that an investigational drug named aficamten significantly improved oxygen utilization during exercise in individuals with obstructive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) was a significant contributor to the international Phase 3 trial, enrolling the most participants of any trial center, with 19 adults taking part.

The trial’s findings suggest that aficamten, developed by Cytokinetics, could be an effective treatment for obstructive HCM. This heart condition, which affects approximately 1 in 500 people and is one of the leading causes of sudden death for youth and healthy athletes, is characterized by thickened heart muscles that hinder the heart’s ability to function properly. Symptoms include shortness of breath and reduced exercise capacity. The obstructive form of Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy specifically obstructs blood flow out of the heart.

In the trial, 143 participants were given aficamten, while 139 received a placebo. Researchers measured their oxygen levels while they exercised using treadmills or bicycles. Those who took aficamten experienced a significant increase in their maximum oxygen consumption, using 1.7 milliliters per kilogram per minute more oxygen than those in the placebo group.

Cardiologist Ahmad Masri, M.D., M.S., who co-wrote the study and directs the OHSU Knight Cardiovascular Institute’s Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Center, stated, “Our latest clinical trial results indicate that aficamten is a promising treatment for obstructive HCM. By enhancing oxygen availability during exercise, patients can perform daily tasks more easily, such as walking and doing household chores.”

This promising development could significantly improve the lives of those living with obstructive HCM, allowing them to engage in more physical activities and improve their overall quality of life.

1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
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