New tests could predict heart attacks
Doctors may be able to identify people with high risk of heart attack, also known as a myocardial infarction, according to a study of a new medical test.
Scientists from the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, developed a test that works by detecting and measuring certain cells, called endothelial cells, which line the interior walls of blood vessels. In the study, researchers used their test on 79 patients who recently had a heart attack. Two control groups were also used, one made up of 25 healthy patients and the other made up of seven patients undergoing treatment for vascular disease (a form of cardiovascular disease affecting the blood vessels).
The study’s findings, published in the journal Physical Biology, showed that endothelial cells levels are significantly higher in the blood of heart attack patients than they are in the blood of people who have never had a heart attack.
Researchers said they hope that the test will be able to predict heart attacks in people who have chest pain or other symptoms and require a diagnosis. An upcoming study will focus on patients at risk for heart attack with the goal of finding out how predictive the test is, researchers said.