Advanced Heart Disease: Finding the Cause


COLUMBUS, Ohio (Ivanhoe Newswire) – When it comes to cholesterol and heart health, we’ve heard from our doctors over recent years how it’s important to have low levels of LDL, or “bad” cholesterol, and high levels of HDL, or “good” cholesterol. But for one man, “good” wasn’t good enough, and that finding could someday change how doctors treat high cholesterol. Advanced Heart Disease.

Forty-one-year-old Marcus Wright eats right and he’s been active his whole life. But at age 27, after finishing a long run, he felt pressure in his chest. When it didn’t go away, he drove himself to the hospital. After a quick test, even the ER doctor was shocked.

“He was like, ‘Dude, you’re having a heart attack.’ And I’m like, ‘Stop playing ‘cause I’m literally talking to you,” Wright remembers.

Researcher at The Ohio State Sara Koenig, PhD and her colleagues had identified a rare genetic mutation that effects how so-called “good” cholesterol works in the body.

(Read Full Interview)

“We did whole genome sequencing and identified variants in the gene SCARB 1,” says Koening.

The researchers asked Wright if they could test his DNA  and he agreed.

Koenig explains, “This specific gene mutation that he has resulted in, basically, a non-functional good cholesterol. So, even though it was there, it wasn’t doing its job.”

Koenig and her colleagues are now screening hundreds of existing drugs to see if any might work as a therapy for people with the gene mutation. in the meantime, Wright is proud of the role he’s playing in the study of genes and cholesterol.

“If my situation helps them in the future, it is all worth it,” Wright expressed.

Researchers say that despite Wright’s advanced disease, it’s very unlikely he passed on the genetic mutation to his children, which Wright says is a huge relief. Wright had three stents to keeps his arteries open, and they remain in place.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Producer; Kirk Manson, Videographer; Roque Correa, Editor.

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REPORT:       MB #5190

BACKGROUND: Cholesterol and heart health are closely related, as elevated cholesterol levels can increase the risk of heart disease. Advanced coronary artery disease (CAD) is a condition that occurs when plaque builds up in the coronary arteries, which supply blood to the heart muscle. The plaque buildup narrows the arteries and restricts blood flow to the heart, increasing the risk of heart attack and other cardiac events. Cholesterol is a fat-like substance that is found in the bloodstream and in all the cells of the body. There are two types of cholesterol known as the “good” (HDL) cholesterol and the “bad” (LDL) cholesterol. High levels of LDL cholesterol can lead to the buildup of plaque in the arteries and HDL can help to remove excess cholesterol from the bloodstream.


DIAGNOSING: For patients with advanced CAD, lifestyle changes and medications may not be enough to manage cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. In these cases, more advanced treatment options, such as coronary artery bypass surgery or angioplasty with stenting, may be recommended to improve blood flow to the heart and reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke. High cholesterol typically does not have clear warning signs but diagnosing good and bad cholesterol levels is an important part of one’s overall health. Diagnosing good and bad cholesterol is typically done through a blood test called a lipid panel, also known as a cholesterol test. This test measures the levels of total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and triglycerides in the bloodstream.


NEW TECHNOLOGY: Researchers from The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center have identified genetic mutations that have been linked to early onset of coronary artery disease. The new discovery is paving the way for a better understanding and treatments regarding cholesterol functions and treatments in the United States. Americans across the nation may someday have better therapeutic options due to the findings,



Amy Colgan

If this story or any other Ivanhoe story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Marjorie Bekaert Thomas at

Doctor Q and A

Read the entire Doctor Q&A for Sara Koenig, PhD Researcher

Read the entire Q&A