To test the method, Robert Gerszten and colleagues conducted a study, in which blood samples were collected before and after a number of patients with the heart condition hypertrophic cardiomyopathy were treated using a medical procedure that creates a small controlled heart attack.
The samples were analyzed using the new method.
Changes in a number of metabolites were observed only 10 minutes after the planned heart attack.
The researchers observed this same signature of changes in a second series of patients undergoing the same procedure and in a number of patients spontaneously having a heart attack.
According to the researchers, no other method can detect changes indicating a heart attack so soon after it has occurred, and hope that their approach can be used to improve early detection of a heart attack.