A diagnostic tool to detect heart attacks using a person’s saliva is being tested at the Michael E DeBakey VA Medical Center (MEDVAMC) in collaboration with Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) in Houston, Texas, US.

The Nano-Bio-Chip, developed by Rice University scientists and manufactured with techniques pioneered by the microelectronics industry, can analyse large amounts of biomarker data at significantly lower costs than traditional tests, researcher said.

More accurate information can be provided when salivary tests are conducted with electrocardiograms (ECG) and saliva-based tests can quickly diagnose heart-attack victims and also find false alarms, according to a study funded by National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.

The study is being conducted on patients with chest pain from the VA emergency room and over the next two years samples from approximately 500 patients who come to the MEDVAMC emergency room with chest pain or heart attack-related symptoms will be collected, researchers said.

The saliva is transferred to the disposable diagnostic microchip, which is then inserted into an analyser from which results are delivered within a few minutes.