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

hree hours after chest pain, we can make a diagnosis of a heart attack."

Many people come to the emergency room with chest pain. Typically, the doctor orders an electrocardiogram (EKG) to check for problems with the electrical activity of the heart, along with blood work. Not all EKG readings are abnormal during a heart attack, Chaparro explained. This is where the blood test would be used.

"It is very common to have people going to the hospital with chest pain and it could be something important or something not significant," she said. A more sensitive test could save a lot of money, she noted.

Dr. Michael Lanigan, an emergency room doctor at the SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, NYC, said the ultimate goal is a highly specific and sensitive test that can tell doctors right away if you are having a heart attack. The new test "helps push the envelope further," he said. "We need a blood test that can tell people when they walk in or soon thereafter that they are having a heart attack because the sooner you make the diagnosis, the sooner you can start the right therapy."

More information

For more on the different types of troponin tests, visit the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

SOURCES: Sandra V. Chaparro, M.D., cardiologist, University of Miami Hospital; Michael Lanigan, M.D., emergency room doctor, SUNY Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn, N.Y.; Dec. 28, 2011, Journal of the American Medical Association


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