AHA: FDA approved new blood test diagnoses heart attacks faster

American Heart Association News Aug 08, 2018

A high-sensitivity blood test for cardiac troponin rules out heart attacks in emergency room patients faster than a conventional method, according to new research by AHA (American Heart Association).




The new high-sensitivity blood test for cardiac troponin, given in a hospital emergency room, was also found to be safe and effective. When patients present to emergency rooms with heart attack symptoms, doctors assess them in part by using a cardiac troponin test to measure a protein released into the blood when the heart is damaged.

“We did not miss any heart attacks using this test in this population,” said lead author Rebecca Vigen, MD, MSCS, a cardiologist at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. “The test also allowed us to determine faster that many patients who had symptoms of a heart attack were not having a heart attack than if we had relied on the traditional test.”

Recently, the United States Food and Drug Administration approved a high-sensitivity troponin test already used in Europe. The researchers developed a procedure for assessing the results of the new test and compared it to existing practice using a conventional troponin test, which takes 3 hours to complete. Study participants were 536 patients admitted to an emergency room with heart attack symptoms, including chest pains and shortness of breath.

The new procedure successfully “ruled out” 30% of patients immediately and an additional 25% at 1 hour. By 3 hours, the new procedure ruled out heart attack in 83.8% of patients compared with 80.4% using the conventional test.

“We anticipate that this procedure will allow many patients with chest pain to be given a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ diagnosis of whether they are having a heart attack faster,” said Vigen, who hopes clinicians from other institutions will learn from these results.

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