Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Tests for biomarker may diagnose heart attack within hours from CNN

One of the most common reasons people go to the emergency room is for serious chest pains. Time is crucial when someone is having a heart attack. If doctors don't make a diagnosis quickly, it can mean the difference between life and death.

Now, there may be a new tool to help ER doctors make a quicker diagnosis. A new highly sensitive test can detect troponin, a protein in the muscle tissue, according to new research in this week's Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). According to cardiologists, the higher the levels of troponin, the more likely it is a person will have a heart attack. If tropin isn't present, the likelihood of a heart attack is much smaller.

Researchers say this new test could also help physicians monitor patients who present with chest pains but no heart attack symptoms in the hours after being admitted to the hospital.

"Early identification of individuals at high and intermediate risk for myocardial ischemia (insufficient blood flow to the heart muscle) is crucial because they benefit the most from early and aggressive treatment," said the study's authors.

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