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A Test To Rule Out Patients At Risk Of Heart Attack?

Chest pain does not necessarily mean a heart attack. A blood test would show it in the future a little better results, according to a study.
Chest pain does not necessarily mean a heart attack. A blood test would show it in the future a little better results, according to a study.
 

Chest pain does not necessarily mean a heart attack. A blood test would show it in the future a little better results, according to a study.

With a new blood test sensitivity, it may be nearly two thirds of patients with very low risk of myocardial infarction who present in emergency services because of chest pain that could be sent home, according to a study. "Until now, there was no easy way to rule out a heart attack in the emergency services," said Dr. Shah, from Edinburgh University, lead author of the study published in the medical British journal Lancet.

Measuring troponin

To identify people with very low risk, the study authors used a new test to measure ultrasensitive troponin among 6000 patients admitted to Scottish and American hospitals because of chest pain. An increase in the level of troponin in blood can indicate the occurrence of a myocardial infarction. The analysis is performed during the fourth hour of the onset of symptoms and renewed twice, respectively after 8 and 12 hours.

Researchers showed that if patients had troponin levels below 5ng/L (nanograms per liter) right after their arrival to the emergency room, ran very little risk over the next 30 days. A rate below that figure, according to the researchers, identified nearly two thirds of patients "very low risk and could have quickly out of the safe hospital" with a "negative predictive value". This probability exists regardless of age, sex, or cardiovascular risk.

Caution on the test sensitivity

Dr. Shah noted that in Great Britain the number of people hospitalized because of chest pain has tripled while "the vast majority" of these patients had no infarction. The use of the new test would, he said, have "major benefits for both patients and healthcare providers."

In comments attached to the study, Louise Cullen and William Parsonage, two doctors, one Australian and one New Zealand have called the results "very promising" while cautious about the sensitivity and effectiveness the test will have to be evaluated by the laboratories in collaboration with clinics.

The Lancet

 
 
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