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By Lynne Adkins

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A researcher at The University of Pennsylvania has found a surprising genetic link to heart failure.

Dr. Thomas Cappola, assistant professor of medicine at Penn, was looking for a genetic risk factor for heart failure, which he said affects one-in-five people. “As a result of a variety of different injuries, your heart muscle itself becomes weak and your body reacts to that by retaining fluid, your body gets swollen and you have breathlessness and fatigue,” Cappola said.

Surprisingly, he discovered defects in a gene linked to kidney function may predispose a person to heart failure. The research is just in the early stages and more is needed, including a trial to determine if doctors can identify patients who have this defect and if medicine can help reduce their risk of heart failure.

Reported by Lynne Adkins, KYW Newsradio

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