A new, highly sensitive blood test that can identify the risk of heart attacks in people, whose heart muscles have been damaged a little, has been developed by researchers.
The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (Jama) and supported by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) at the University of Edinburgh, was led by the Chair of Cardiology, Professor David Newby. It involved looking into the data of 2,000 patients admitted in the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary with "suspected heart attacks."
Troponin, a protein usually found in the heart muscle, indicates the incidence of a heart attack and the future possibility of another one, when it is present in the blood. When the heart muscles are damaged in a heart attack due to lack of oxygen, troponins are released into the blood.
The new test, the researchers claim, could calculate the amount of damage four times deeper than the standard test as it detects troponin levels four times lower than the original test. Hence, the scientists claim that this test would cut down the danger of heart attacks by 50 per cent.
The medical director at the British Heart Foundation, Prof Peter Weissberg warns of a major, potentially fatal, attack if early heart damage is ignored. "This test will help doctors identify this vulnerable group of patients," he said.