A new test may be able to help doctors diagnose a heart attack in as little as one hour – saving time and money, as well as reducing crowds in emergency rooms, Bloomberg News reported.
By using sensitive screening to detect changes in cardiac troponin in the blood, which indicates a heart attack, and putting the data into an algorithm, doctors were able to determine whether or not a heart attack had occurred in 77 percent of patients with heart attack symptoms within an hour of arrival.
Out of 439 patients, 259 people were classified as not having a heart attack, 76 were confirmed as having a heart attack and 101 were placed in an observational zone in an hour or less. Following up, the researchers found 30-day survival was nearly 100 percent in those classified as not having a heart attack, 99 percent in those in the observational group and 95 percent in those who had had a heart attack.
“There’s a bit more work to be done to show, that in a prospective fashion, by employing these algorithms you have good clinical results,” Kristin Newby, professor of medicine in the Division of Cardiology at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina, told Bloomberg News. “This kind of work sets the stage for that and ultimately helps move things forward.”
As of now, the new tests aren’t available in clinical practice in the U.S., Newby told Bloomberg. The blood used in the study was donated by pharmaceutical company Roche Holding AG, a research sponsor.