New Research Finds “Biomarker” Indicator For Heart Attacks; Will Lead to More Accurate and Life-saving Diagnoses


New research from the Journal of American Medical Association (“JAMA”) has found that a new and extremely sensitive test can detect a protein in muscle tissue, called troponin, which is linked to heart attacks.  This is a crucial discovery because when patients go to emergency rooms for serious chest pains, the faster doctors can appropriately respond the better treatment and higher rate of success for treating a patient who is potentially suffering from a heart attack.

            Troponin is important because, according to cardiologists and researchers, the higher levels of troponin the more likely a person is to have a heart attack.  Interestingly enough, the less troponin or if it is not present, the likelihood of a heart attack is actually significantly smaller then with high levels.  Therefore, if a patient is having chest pains but is not exhibiting the symptoms of a heart attack, the emergency team can now use this test to effectively rule out or diagnose the heart attack and appropriately treat the patient.  In fact, it is so accurate that in the study, almost 100% of the time the test correctly predicted if the patient was or was not having a heart attack while other tests were significantly less accurate (almost 23% accurate). 

This will save lives because it is very accurate, but it will help to lower the high costs of health care since patients with chest pains and low levels of troponin are unlikely to be having a heart attack and, therefore, do not need to be treated from a heart attack unless the heart attack symptoms manifest.  Therefore, it can also help hospitals triage patients in a busy ER (for example, in an urban setting) where there are more potential patients with heart attacks then staff to treat them.  These tests could be conducted immediately and help focus the limited cardiac staff on those suffering from cardiac conditions, as opposed to individuals suffering from muscular, skeletal, or other chest pains not associated with a heart attack.

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