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New Blood Test May Rule Out Heart Attacks More Quickly
Date:12/28/2011

By Denise Mann
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Dec. 27 (HealthDay News) -- A new test measuring levels of troponin I in the blood may help determine whether someone is really having a heart attack earlier than is currently possible.

Troponin I is a protein that is released into the bloodstream when the heart muscle has been damaged such as during a heart attack. The more damage there is to the heart, the more troponin there will be in the blood. Existing tests measure troponin T or troponin I. The new study looked at a highly sensitive type of troponin I test that may be more accurate in less time. The findings appear in the Dec. 28 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Researchers led by Dr. Till Keller at the University Heart Center in Hamburg, Germany, compared the new highly sensitive troponin I test with the current test and other blood markers for heart attack among 1,818 people who showed symptoms of a possible heart attack. Of these, 413 were deemed to be having a heart attack. The troponin tests were more predictive than other biomarkers used to make the diagnosis, the study showed.

The new test was more sensitive than the existing one. This means that if a test result is negative, the person is not having a heart attack. Another measure, specificity, rules in disease with a high degree of confidence. The issue with available troponin testing has been that they must be repeated two more times over the next 12 to 16 hours for accurate readings. The new test yields sensitive results in three hours.

The study was partially funded by Brahms AG and Abbott Diagnostics. Abbott Diagnostics developed both the new and the conventional troponin tests used in the study.

"We can rule out heart attacks more quickly with the new test," said Dr. Sandra Chaparro, a cardiologist at the University of Miami Hospital in Florida. "If the patient presents to an emergency room less than t
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