Diagnosis cuts time and cost for people with chest pains

One simple blood test can rule out a diagnosis of a heart attack in 2 of 3  patients going to emergency departments complaining of chest pain.

Over a million people visit A&E departments with acute chest pain a year near their heart compared to 188,000 heart attacks in the UK each year

Edinburgh University researchers believe their test could double the number of people with chest pains who could be immediately discharged, saving NHS money on further tests and other medical interventions.

The study, published in the Lancet, measures levels of  troponin. a protein, in the blood stream that is released by the heart during a heart attack. If a patient had less than five nanograms of troponin per litre, they have a very low risk of having had a heart attack or having one in the next 30 days.

Dr Atul Anand, co-author of the research at Edinburgh University and Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, said:

“It can be a devastating blow to learn you’ve had a heart attack. We’d much rather be able to rule this diagnosis out early and prevent unnecessary stress and an overnight stay in hospital. This research has highlighted a quick way to rule out a heart attack in A&E. With further results from this clinical trial we hope to have enough evidence to change clinical guidelines to ensure more accurate diagnosis of heart attacks.”

Current approaches for assessing patients with suspected heart attacks can require admission into hospital or lengthy stays in emergency departments for repeat testing.

The results of this study could be used to shape national and international clinical guidelines on the early rule-out of heart attacks.. ..more

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