Rapid test to con­firm a heart at­tack

Daily Mirror (Northern Ireland) - - DR MIRIAM STOPPARD -

If you sus­pected you were hav­ing a heart at­tack would you want to be spared a long and anx­ious wait in hospi­tal? I should say so. Well, a new blood test for heart at­tacks, which takes just 15 min­utes to work, could do just that.

Only around 10% of the more than a mil­lion peo­ple who go to A&E de­part­ments in Bri­tain each year com­plain­ing of chest pain have ac­tu­ally had a heart at­tack. But to give pa­tients the all-clear of­ten re­quires a bat­tery of tests and, in some cases, they may even need to stay in overnight.

Cur­rently, all vic­tims of sus­pected heart at­tacks are given an ECG and a blood test to de­tect heart dam­age. This test must be car­ried out twice with an hour in be­tween. The new test looks for a pro­tein, c-myc – lev­els of which rise quickly after a heart at­tack, show up eas­ily – and needs to be done only once.

“Our re­search shows that the new test has the po­ten­tial to re­as­sure many thou­sands more pa­tients with a sin­gle test,” says Dr Tom Kaier, a car­di­ol­o­gist at King’s Col­lege Lon­don.

At his own hospi­tal, St Thomas’ in Lon­don, Kaier said that the test had the po­ten­tial to save £800,000 a year in re­duced ad­mis­sions. Though it’s still in the trial stage, he hopes that the test will be rolled out across the NHS within five years.

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