Newer Tests for Detecting Heart Attacks More Quickly

An article in the August 27th issue of the New England Journal of Medicine reports on two studies investigating quicker ways to identify heart attacks for patients coming to an emergency room with heart attack symptoms.  The study councluded that newer blood tests were more accurate at identifying heart attacks than the current methods. These newer blood tests more quickly detect elevated levels of troponin, which is a heart muscle protein. 

One study was lead by a team of researchers at Johnannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany. They studied 1818 people who came to a emergency room with chest pain.  The other study was done by cardiologists at the University Hospital in Basel, switzerland. Researchers in this study looked at 718 patients coming to the emergency room with heart attack symptoms.

Both studies found that the newer tests were between 94 and 96 percent accurate versus 85 to 90 percent accuracy of older tests. The researchers concluded, “The diagnostic performance of sensitive cardiac troponin assays is excellent, and these assays can substantially improve the early diagnosis of acute myocardial infarction, particularly in patients with a recent onset of chest pain.”

 Two of the newer tests are approved in the United States and are may bay Abbott Laboratories and  Siemens AG.

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