Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School (RWJMS) and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) have recently established a new center to diagnose rare diseases, according to a press release.
The Cardiac Amyloidosis and Cardiomyopathy Center is located at RWJUH and aims to diagnose and treat patients with rare amyloid conditions.
Amyloidosis occurs when amyloid protein accumulates in the heart, kidneys, liver or other organs causing dysfunction of those organs, according to the release.
For instance, amyloidosis in the heart causes the heart walls to become stiffer, which reduces its pumping efficiency.
Symptoms of the condition could include lightheadedness, numbness in a patient's extremities, severe fatigue, swelling of the extremities, diarrhea and constipation, according to the release.
Amyloidosis is rare but often goes misdiagnosed or even undiagnosed due to subtle symptoms, which are similar to those of other conditions, such as heart failure. As such, it can be fatal.
The center will host experts in cardiology, neurology, pathology and other disciplines, who will collaborate to develop treatment plans for individuals with amyloidosis, according to the release.
Sabahat Bokhari is a professor in the Division of Cardiovascular Disease and Hypertension at RWJMS and an internationally known expert in amyloidosis. Bokhari will serve as the center’s director.
"Amyloidosis can be a serious medical condition if it is not diagnosed properly," Bokhari said. "Our center combines expertise across a broad range of disciplines with the most advanced cardiac imaging capabilities to identify these conditions much earlier and develop individual treatment plans for patients that will give patients the best chance to live longer and more healthy, active lives."