Special clinic treats patients with unique cardiac condition

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – Topping recent health news, Local 10 News takes a closer look at a disease called cardiac amyloidosis, which changes the structure of the heart and can ultimately lead to heart failure.

Even at the age of 91, Carlos Perez stays busy every day, tending his garden, and going for regular walks.

“I used to walk 10,000 steps every day based on my watch fit bit 10,000 but now i do six thousand, five six thousand every day,” he said.

Perez never imagined anything might be wrong with his heart until a recent visit to a new special clinic at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Hialeah.

There, cardiologist Dr. Sofia Horvath diagnosed him with a form of cardiac amyloidosis.

“It’s a disease where a specific protein gets in the muscle of the heart, abnormally deposited there, so it’s a protein that shouldn’t be there and involves the whole muscle and makes it thick and stiff,” Horvath said.

Symptoms can include shortness of breath, lightheadedness, leg swelling and fatigue.

At Mount Sinai’s Cardiac Amyloidosis clinic, specialists are able to diagnose the condition with a simple scan and bloodwork and provide some patients with potentially lifesaving medications.

“It has been shown to reduce mortality, decrease mortality and decrease the incidence of heart failure,” Horvath said.

Perez has been on medication since being diagnosed six months ago, and hasn’t missed a beat.

“It is important that you follow what they tell you to do because if you do that your possibilities are much better,” he said.

The treatment approach depends on the sub-type of cardiac amyloidosis.

The disease is responsible for 25% to 50% of cases of diastolic heart failure.

About the Authors:

Kristi Krueger has built a solid reputation as an award-winning medical reporter and effervescent anchor. She joined Local 10 in August 1993. After many years co-anchoring the 6 p.m. and 11 p.m., Kristi now co-anchors the noon newscasts, giving her more time in the evening with her family.

Veteran journalist Kathleen Corso is the special projects producer for Local 10 News.