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New heart test to save time, money -- and lives
Date:11/29/2007

A NEW test could give doctors a head start in diagnosing those patients most likely to suffer a heart attack.

The test, developed at the University of Leeds, could result in fewer patients needlessly admitted to hospital enabling medics to concentrate on those most needing their help.

Alistair Hall, Professor of Clinical Cardiology at Leeds, explained: Casualty departments regularly see patients presenting with chest pains. The highest-risk patients are easy to diagnose and are admitted straight away. Those with no risk of having a heart attack are also easy to spot. Its the group in between which is hardest to correctly diagnose. Typically patients are admitted for 24 hours while the hospital figures out the cause.

The most commonly-used diagnostic tool is the troponin test which can detect and evaluate heart injury and separate it from chest pain due to other causes. Essentially if troponin proteins are found in the patients blood, then it indicates a heart problem. But Prof Hall explained that the troponin test can give both false negative and false positive results, meaning some patients are unnecessarily admitted, and others wrongly discharged.

A new test, developed at Leeds through research funded by the British Heart Foundation, searches for a heart-type fatty acid-binding protein (H-FABP) which is released into the circulation following heart injury (myocardial ischemia). Prof Hall said: "The H-FABP test is a major advance on what we had before. It appears to be able to detect milder and earlier degrees of heart injury than do current tests which detect heart cell death.

The teams findings are published in the American Journal of Cardiology: "Our paper shows that it is possible to be more effective in matching life-saving treatments to the patients with heart attacks who most likely to benefit from them," said Prof Hall.

The test also enables medics to identify patients whose chest pains are an indi
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Contact: Simon Jenkins
s.jenkins@leeds.ac.uk
44-011-334-34031
University of Leeds
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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