A team of scientists at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston has identified powerful predictors of congestive heart failure. This is major cause of hospitalization and death in the United States with approximately 5.7 million adults affected in 2016. They analyzed how gene mutations affect circulating metabolites in the human body.
A mutated gene, SLCO1B1, was found to be associated with high levels of blood fatty acid, which is a strong predictor for the development of future heart failure and the mutation itself has a direct effect on heart failure risk. A major risk factor of heart failure is high blood pressure, or hypertension, which is more common among African-Americans. While the finding was made in a population of African-American participants, the researchers were able to confirm the relationship among European Americans as well.