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New blood test may help predict heart failure in apparently healthy older adults
Date:11/15/2010

ed on a national research project, the Cardiovascular Health Study (CHS), which began in 1989 and followed more than 4,000 people age 65 and older who were not hospitalized, did not have symptoms of heart failure and were not experiencing an acute medical illness. Blood samples of the study participants, who were ethnically and geographically diverse, were taken when they first entered the study and repeated after two-three years. Each participant was followed for about 12 years to see what, if any, heart-related diseases they developed, with the most recent follow-up visit in 2008.

The blood samples were stored at very low temperatures to stabilize the proteins in the samples for a period of 10-15 years. By preserving the blood samples in this way, researchers such as the University of Maryland team could look back in time with modern testing tools.

"The availability of the blood samples is one of the great strengths of the Cardiovascular Health Study," says senior author and designer of the current study, Stephen L. Seliger, M.D., M.S., assistant professor of medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and a nephrologist at the University of Maryland Medical Center. "Another strength of the CHS is its longstanding and rich database which carefully characterized the participants' risk factors for heart disease as well as the actual outcomes."

The researchers also found that troponin levels can change over time. Troponin levels rose in some study participants between the first and second blood samples, with a corresponding increase in their risk for heart disease. Conversely, the risks dropped in other participants whose blood samples showed a reduction in troponin levels. "These fluctuations suggest that even in people without clinical symptoms of heart disease, we may be able to intervene with lifestyle modifications to lower their risks," says Dr. deFilippi.

"This study may have important clinical implications, si
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Contact: BILL SEILER
bseiler@umm.edu
410-328-8919
University of Maryland Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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