Blood test may predict heart attack
A NEW blood test may in future help doctors identify patients at risk of a heart attack, scientists have revealed.
Research has identified unusual cells circulating in the blood of recent heart attack sufferers. Experts believe spotting them early may show when a high-risk patient is about to have an attack.
The circulating endothelial cells (CECs) are abnormally large, misshapen, and often have multiple nuclei. Scientists in San Diego, in the United States, found that 50 patients admitted to hospitals after a heart attack had high numbers of the cells in their blood.
Lead investigator Dr Eric Topol, from Scripps Translational Science Institute (STSI), said: “The ability to diagnose an imminent heart attack has long been considered the Holy Grail of cardiovascular medicine.”
Working with industry colleagues, the scientists hope to develop a test within two years.
Dr Raghava Gollapudi, from the company Sharp HealthCare, who took part in the research said: “This would be an ideal test to perform in an emergency room to determine if a patient is on the cusp of a heart attack or about to experience one in the next couple of weeks.
“Right now, we can only test to detect if a patient is currently experiencing or has recently experienced a heart attack.”
The findings are published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.Professor Peter Weissberg, medical director at the British Heart Foundation, said: “This is an interesting study and represents a new approach to trying to predict who might be at risk of an impending heart attack.”
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