A study led by the University of Edinburgh in the UK has showed that a blood test can more than halve the number of people admitted to hospital with a suspected heart attack.
The test, developed by Edinburgh researchers, measures blood levels of a protein called troponin that is released by damaged heart cells.
It is noted the higher the level of troponin present, the more likely it is that a person has had or is likely to go on to have a heart attack.
The study analysed troponin levels in the blood of more than 6,000 patients admitted to four hospitals in Scotland and the US.
There are currently no quick ways to rule out a heart attack in patients admitted to the emergency department, while the new blood test is expected to rule out a heart attack in people with chest pain and could reduce hospital costs.
Acute chest pain is one of the most common causes of hospitalisation worldwide. In the UK, nearly one million people annually make a visit to the emergency department for chest pain.
Published in The Lancet, the research was funded by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) and The Chief Scientist Office.
BHF Centre for Cardiovascular Science clinical research fellow Dr Anoop Shah said: "Our study shows that low heart troponin concentrations identify up to two-thirds of patients who are at very low risk of heart attack and could be safely discharged.
"These findings could dramatically reduce unnecessary hospital admissions and provide substantial cost savings."
The test also shows it could potentially save the National Health Service millions as it can reduce unnecessary emergency admissions.