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March 24, 2011

Sensitive New Test Effective for Identifying Heart Attacks

A highly sensitive blood test is more effective at identifying heart attacks in patients than other available tests, according to a new study by researchers at Edinburgh University in the UK. The test determines heart muscle damage by measuring a protein called troponin, which is relea

By cms admin

A highly sensitive blood test is more effective at identifying heart attacks in patients than other available tests, according to a new study by researchers at Edinburgh University in the UK.

The test determines heart muscle damage by measuring a protein called troponin, which is released when heart cells are damaged during a heart attack.

The test is capable of detecting troponin at levels four-times lower than the previous standard test.

In a study conducted by researchers, the test detected heart attacks in a third more patients that were admitted to hospital with chest pain than previous tests.

After the test was introduced into clinical practice, the risk of readmission to hospital with heart attack or dying from another heart attack within the following year was reduced by 50%.

For the study, researchers analysed data from more than 2,000 patients admitted to the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh with chest pain and suspected heart attack.

Dr Nicholas Mills from Edinburgh University said the use of outdated diagnostic thresholds for troponin continues to be widespread and lowering the threshold remains a highly contentious issue amongst doctors.

“We provide compelling evidence that adopting a more sensitive test and lowering the threshold for detection of heart muscle damage will substantially improve the outcome of patients with chest pain and suspected heart attack,” he added.

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