Cardiology, 2031: Genetic Testing, Earlier Diagnosis

The ABC News Medical Unit asked doctors and medical experts in a wide variety of specialties about advancements in their fields in the next 25 years. The following is the future of cardiology.

Watch "Good Morning America's" "The Future Now" on Nov. 4.

Earlier Detection

Coronary heart disease will be much less prevalent because of improved early diagnosis and better preventive therapies.

Genetic Testing

At a relatively young age, individuals will be tested for genetic susceptibility to coronary disease.

Improved Medications

For individuals deemed "at risk," medications will be administered to treat the underlying cause. In some, but not all cases, this will consist of medications to lower bad cholesterol (LDL) and/or raise good cholesterol (HDL).

For those individuals who, despite better prevention, develop coronary disease, active drug therapy to reverse plaque buildup in the coronaries will be available.

New Therapies

For the few individuals who have heart attacks, regeneration of damaged muscle will be possible using stem cells.

For individuals with advanced heart failure, the total artificial heart will be a viable option.

Other Developments

Susceptibility to diabetes will be genetically determined and prevented with specific drug therapy.

Obesity will be unusual because of effective pharmacological countermeasures.

Smoking will be fairly rare, affecting less than 10 percent of the population.

Heart failure will also be rare, but readily treatable with improved drugs and devices.