A blood test that quickly and easily detects whether a person is at risk of a second heart attack is being developed by scientists at the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute. The study has been published in JCI Insight.

The Baker Institute's head of metabolomics, Professor Peter Meikle and his team have identified plasma lipid biomarkers (fats in the blood) that improve upon traditional risk factors in predicting heart disease and stroke.

Blood Test

He says the revolutionary blood test is proposed to be trialed in Australia over the next 2-3 years as part of a broader personalized precision health program currently under development. Eventually, a GP will be able to order this test to assess better a patient's risk of developing heart disease.

Risk Of A Second Heart Attack

The test was developed after a study looked at 10,000 samples to find the biomarkers that will determine whether a person is at risk of having another heart attack. They hope to identify those individuals who are at greatest risk of a second heart attack so that they can be closely monitored and treated accordingly.

While there are thousands of lipids in the blood, our challenge is to identify which ones best predict disease outcomes. To date, a prototype of this test has been trained in America, yet the prototype only provides GP's and patients with limited information by two lipid markers, and it is not yet available in Australia.

The test will be a simple blood test, similar to the process and cost of having a cholesterol test, and could be operated out of hospital pathology laboratories that already contain the necessary equipment.

Diagnosis

Our test will use up to ten lipid markers to better diagnose heart disease. It's a challenging, yet very exciting time. We effectively have the information and are in the process of refining the technology.

Heart Disease

Once the protocols for a diagnostic heart disease blood test are in place; it will be possible to add markers for the test to also be used in predicting diabetes and potentially Alzheimer's disease as well.

The test will reclassify a patient's risk of heart attack and stroke. It will better identify who within the 'intermediate' risk category is, at higher risk, and help guide physicians in the appropriate treatment of patients.

Prediction Of Cardiovascular Disease

The improvement in the prediction of cardiovascular outcomes, above conventional risk factors, demonstrates the potential of plasma lipidomic profiles as biomarkers for cardiovascular risk stratification in secondary prevention.