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Diagnosis of heart attacks improved

23rd March 2011

Researchers at Edinburgh University have said a new type of blood test could help to detect the risk of heart attacks in patients who have a small amount of damage to their heart muscles.

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The team said the new test was more sensitive and could calculate the amount of harm to heart muscles "four times deeper" than the standard test.

They said this would boost the numbers of patients diagnosed with heart attacks by a third.

The scientists said this type of diagnosis cut the danger of patients dying of a heart attack by 50%.

The research examined data from 2,000 patient admissions to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary with "suspected heart attacks".

The blood test looked for levels of a protein called troponin at levels "four times lower" than the original test.

Prof Peter Weissberg, medical director at the British Heart Foundation, said: "This promising study shows us that by using a more sensitive test for heart muscle damage, more patients who come to hospital with chest pains are identified as having suffered a small heart attack."

"Over recent years it has become clear that people who suffer heart pain but only a small amount of heart damage are at a very high risk of going on to have a larger, potentially fatal, heart attack if left untreated. This test will help doctors identify this vulnerable group of patients," he added.

 

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Article Information

Title: Diagnosis of heart attacks improved
Author: Jess Laurence
Article Id: 17983
Date Added: 23rd Mar 2011

Sources

BBC News

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