During the last decade, techniques and advances in molecular genetics and genomics have yielded profound new insights into the fundamental mechanisms and genetic underpinnings for many heritable cardiovascular diseases. The resulting genotype-phenotype correlations facilitate: (1) molecular testing for the preclinical/presymptomatic identification of genetically susceptible individuals, (2) the possibility of gene-based prognosis, and (3) new opportunities for gene-specific or gene-targeted therapy including primary prevention in genotype-positive-phenotypenegative individuals. Cardiology has embraced new genetic discoveries, since sudden cardiac death (SCD) consumes more lives than any other medical condition in developed countries, with 1,000 SCDs occurring each day in the United States. Coronary artery disease (CAD) is the major cause of SCD, while other heritable processes including cardiomyopathies and the channelopathies may also predispose to fatal ventricular arrhythmias.
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