Instant Blood Test For Heart Attack

Each year millions of people visit the emergency rooms with chest pain. Because a heart attack is associated with high morbidity, it needs to be treated promptly. That is why patients with chest pain often receive first priority in triage and are quickly seen by the emergency room physician.

Despite all the advances, the workup of a patient with a possible heart attack can take anywhere from 30-75 minutes, depending on the hospital. Time is of the essence as the sooner the heart attack is diagnosed and treated, the better is the overall outcome.

Now researchers at King’s College London have come up with a new blood test that can help rule out a heart attack in less than twenty minutes. This test has been evaluated in many patients and the researchers claim that it could be the new standard within a few years.

Not only will this test save the healthcare system time and money but it will help free up beds by discharging patients who do not have a heart attack sooner. Each year, workup of patients with a possible heart attack reveals that nearly 66% do not have a heart attack.

Even though the ECG is always the first test of choice in patients who are suspected of having a heart attack, this electronic tracing is not accurate and can often miss smaller heart attacks that are just as life-threatening. Currently, all patients undergo a blood test to measure levels of a protein called troponin but it needs to be serially repeated every 3-4 hours to determine if heart damage has occurred. Many patients often sit in the emergency room for many hours for the results of these blood tests to come back and this often results in a backlog of patients and occupied beds.

The cMyC or the cardiac myosin binding protein C test appears in the blood earlier after a heart attack and is very accurate. This means that emergency room physicians can now make a diagnosis of a heart attack much faster. The researchers also note that the cMyC test is also much better at giving an all clear in patients who did not have a heart attack.

This single test has the potential to help millions of people with chest pain and save money for healthcare institutions. Unlike the present day tests like levels of troponin which need to be repeated every 4 hours, the cMyC test does not need to be repeated.

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