In the near future, a new blood test could show whether arteries carrying blood to the heart are narrow or blocked, a risk factor for heart disease, suggested a Duke Health pilot project.
According to the 40-person study published in the journal PLOS ONE, emergency patients who underwent a treadmill stress test and showed signs of decreased blood flow to the heart also had changes in five metabolites in their blood within two hours.
All study subjects had gone to the emergency department with symptoms of coronary disease, such as chest, jaw and shoulder pain.
The researchers hope a larger study could confirm that acute changes in these fatty acid and amino acid metabolites, which are energy sources for cells, could be an early biological indicator of restricted blood flow that could complement or even replace current tests.
Previous research has suggested that metabolites could indicate heart disease, but scientists have yet to uncover the specific metabolomic signature to look for. For the Duke study, scientists evaluated the presence of more than 60 chemicals or compounds in the blood to identify the five specific metabolites that appeared to change in patients with abnormal cardiac stress tests.
The researchers hope to begin a larger study to further test this approach to detecting coronary artery disease, they said.