Blood Test Detects Heart Attacks — and False Alarms — Faster

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A highly-sensitive blood test to detect heart attack was faster and more accurate than conventional diagnostic methods in a study conducted at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and published in Circulation. This test to measure cardiac troponin, a protein released into the blood when the heart is damaged, is already used in Europe and was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The study involved 536 patients admitted to an emergency room with heart attack symptoms, such as chest pain and shortness of breath. The researchers compared results of the new test to those of the conventional troponin test, which takes three hours to complete, and determined the more sensitive test confirmed or ruled out heart attack faster and with more accuracy.

Using the high-sensitivity test, the researchers successfully ruled out heart attack in 30 percent of patients immediately and an additional 25 percent within an hour. In three hours, the new test ruled out heart attack in 83.8 percent of patients compared with 80.4 percent using the conventional test. According to the Texas researchers, no heart attacks were missed with the new blood test.

Sourced from: American Heart Association