Aficamten for the treatment of HCM in the Maine Coon and other cats

Aficamten for the treatment of HCM in the Maine Coon and other cats
Aficamten for the treatment of HCM in the Maine Coon and other cats. Image: MikeB

A study - referred to at the end of the article - concludes with the words below in testing a new drug called aficamten for the treatment of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) in cats of which the Maine Coon is perhaps the best known cat breed to suffer from this inherited disease.
"A single dose of aficamten significantly decreased LV systolic function and improved LVOTO, both of which are harmful aspects of this disease process that contribute to the pathogenesis."
The sentence above describes the effects of this medication called aficamten on a condition that causes abnormal function in the left ventricle of the heart which is how HCM is manifested in cats and people. The left ventricle becomes enlarged and malfunctions.

Here's a breakdown:
  • A single dose of aficamten significantly decreased LV systolic function: Aficamten reduces the pumping ability of the left ventricle (LV) to a noticeable degree.
  • improved LVOTO: LVOTO stands for left ventricular outflow tract obstruction. This means the medication improves the blockage of blood flow leaving the left ventricle.
  • both of which are harmful aspects of this disease process that contribute to the pathogenesis: These effects, weakening the pump and reducing blockage, are both positive because they target negative aspects of the underlying disease. By pathogenesis, they mean the development of the disease.
In simpler terms, the medication seems to be working in two ways, although it might seem contradictory at first. It weakens the heart's pumping action, but at the same time, it improves blood flow by reducing blockage. Overall, these seemingly opposite effects might be beneficial for the disease process.

It's important to note that this is likely referencing a specific study or medication trial and aficamten is not a medication currently available for clinical use. More research is needed to fully understand the effects of aficamten.

Study referred to: Sharpe, A.N., Oldach, M.S., Rivas, V.N. et al. Effects of Aficamten on cardiac contractility in a feline translational model of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Sci Rep 13, 32 (2023).

Click on the above link to see the study if you are interested. It is as usual very technical which is why I have 'translated' the sentence at the beginning of the article.

A lot of work is being done on drugs for HCM, both for cats, dogs and people. When the time is right I'd ask your vet about this drug and another similar drug called 'mavacamten' as a treatment for your Maine Coon if he/she has HCM and there is a good chance that they have. 

There are a lot of articles on this site on this topic. Please explore the site using the search facility above.


Please excuse the occasional typo due to preparing these articles at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I don't have a proof reader.


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