A suspected heart attack leads many people to turn to the emergency room but the chest pain is not always indicative of a heart attack, a simple ultra-sensitive blood test would be able to detect and exclude “false alarms”. The test was developed by a team of researchers at the University of Edinburgh (Scotland): the study that illustrates it was published in the Lancet journal.

The test is based on measuring the level of cardiac troponin, a protein found in blood. Below a threshold, that is very low and equal to 5 nanograms per liter of blood, the chance of heart attack is greately reduced. Patients therefore have a lower value of troponin may be discharged from the emergency room because they do not show clinical signs of concern.

An ultrasensitive test that ruled 2/3 of patients at low risk

The study measured levels of troponin in 6 thousand patients admitted to four hospitals in Scotland and the United States with suspected acute coronary syndrome. A low concentration of this biomarker has allowed to identify 2/3 of patients with a very low risk of adverse cardiac events.

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“Troponin is a protein that is derived exclusively from cardiac cells. Its presence in the blood identifies myocardial damage of any nature that may not depend on coronary damage,” noted Dr. Maddalena cot, head of the Unit of Cardiology Heart Failure Hospital Humanitas.

“With this new examination we can detect only a few molecules of troponin and in a shorter time. Therefore you can “skim” patients excluding those with a clinical picture of probable myocardial infarction and those who definitely do not have. Among the first we must then separate those who have cardiac damage of coronary origin from those who have other diseases such as inflammation of the heart.”

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Many accesses in the emergency room due to infarcts suspicion

As explained by the author of the research, this test allows you to resign immediately and safely up to two thirds of patients with suspected acute coronary syndrome. An approach that could have great benefits for both patients and caregivers. What kind?

“The emergency rooms are often overcrowded and an exam like that will certainly help healthcare professionals better manage logins, focusing only on some patients and resigning instead healthy people. The effect is also relevant for the whole public health sector that would be more sustainable,” replies the doctor.

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“Prior to the study of Edinburgh, as well as other research centers have focused on reviewing the ultrasensitive troponin and their results were allowed to update international guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of myocardial infarction,” concludes Dr. Lettino.