Researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore report that a new, highly sensitive investigative blood test may help predict the risk of heart failure and cardiovascular death much earlier than previously possible in older people who do not have symptoms of heart failure. Results of a study were presented at the Scientific Sessions of the American Heart Association on November 15, 2010, and simultaneously published online in JAMA, Journal of the American Medical Association.
The new test measures troponin T, a marker for the biological process of cell death that leads to heart failure. Current cardiac troponin T blood tests do not detect troponin in seemingly healthy people and are often used in hospital emergency rooms to clarify whether the source of chest pain is a heart attack or something else. The new test, not commercially available in the United States, detects troponin levels that are 10 times lower than previous tests. The researchers found the marker in two-thirds of people without symptoms age 65 or older whose blood samples were collected and stored for up to 18 years as part of a long-term cardiovascular research project.
"This is a very unique finding," says principal investigator Christopher deFilippi, M.D., associate professor of medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and a cardiologist at the University of Maryland Medical Center. "We found that the higher the level of troponin, the greater the individual was at risk for symptoms of heart failure or death from cardiovascular disease over the next 10-15 years. The meaning of these elevated levels was unknown until this point."
Eighty percent of new cases of congestive heart failure occur in people who are 65 and older. For people in this group with no symptoms, it has been difficult to gauge their risk for heart disease, the number one killer of men and women in the United States.
The study was bas
|Contact: BILL SEILER|
University of Maryland Medical Center