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Diagnosing heart attacks may be a lick and a click away
Date:5/3/2010

rovide a saliva swab as well as blood samples. It is anticipated that saliva will be an alternative or complementary technique to blood drawing for early diagnosis of heart attacks, ultimately for testing in the ambulance before arrival in the emergency room."

Over the next two years, samples from approximately 500 patients who come to the MEDVAMC emergency room with chest pain or heart attack-related symptoms will be collected.

To obtain a saliva sample for the Nano-Bio-Chip, health care providers swab a patient's gums with a cotton-tipped stick. The saliva is transferred to the disposable diagnostic microchip. The microchip is then inserted into an analyzer and within a few minutes the saliva sample is checked and results delivered.

Nano-Bio-Chips deliver all the capabilities of a traditional laboratory but do not require expensive instrumentation to get results. Manufactured with techniques pioneered by the microelectronics industry, they have the potential to analyze large amounts of biomarker data at significantly lower cost than traditional tests, McDevitt said.

Chest pain brings about 5 million patients to U.S. emergency rooms each year, but 80 percent of those patients are not suffering heart attacks. Blood test results can take anywhere from 90 minutes to three hours, and in many cases it may be 12 to 24 hours before patients know whether or not they had a heart attack.

McDevitt said the new test could save lives, time and money by allowing doctors to identify those suffering from a heart attack before administering a battery of costly tests. "We hope to bend down U.S. health care costs through the marriage of electronics with diagnostic devices," he said.

"We believe that, in the future, we may be able to apply the same technology to improve screening for cardiovascular disease and diabetes, to identify problems before someone gets a heart attack," said Dr. Christie Ballantyne, chief of atheroscleros
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Contact: David Ruth
druth@rice.edu
713-348-6327
Rice University
Source:Eurekalert  

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