Sangmin Jeon from Pohang University of Science and Technology and colleagues said that one way to tell whether someone has had a heart attack involves measuring the level of a protein called troponin in the person's blood.
Inspired by the simplicity of alcohol and mercury thermometers, the researchers created a similarly straightforward way to detect troponin.
Troponin's concentration rises when blood is cut off from the heart, and the muscle is damaged.
Today, detecting troponin requires bulky, expensive instruments and is often not practical for point-of-care use or in low-income areas.
Yet three-quarters of the deaths related to cardiovascular disease occur in low-and middle-income countries. Early diagnosis could help curb these numbers, the researchers said.
The findings were detailed in the journal Analytical Chemistry.
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