Imagine getting a simple blood test to help doctors predict your risk for having a heart attack or stroke. That test exists, and that scenario could become reality, according to a new study. The test often is use now to help hospital medical staff diagnose heart attacks in people who come in with chest pain or other symptoms. It involves analyzing blood samples for specific proteins released by the heart muscle when damaged.
Detect very low levels of these proteins
In recent years, these tests have become so refine that some can detect very low levels of these proteins; hence known as troponin. Researchers determine that troponin levels in healthy middle-age to older adults; so could help predict their risk for eventually developing cardiovascular disease. Their findings were publish Monday in the American Heart Association journal Circulation.
“What they’re finding out is that these tests can use in the general population; hence to give us information as to who is most likely to have a future problem; so whether it be a heart attack, stroke or heart failure,” said Dr. Christie Ballantyne; so the study’s senior author and cardiology chief at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.
Researchers examine a group of 8,121 people, ages 54 to 74; hence with no history of cardiovascular disease. Troponin levels were detect in 85% of the group. Higher levels of the protein were associate with a greater chance; so of developing cardiovascular disease, particularly heart failure.
Predicting cardiovascular events
The study find that highly sensitive troponin tests were especially good at predicting cardiovascular events when add to the results of a special equation commonly use to calculate a person’s 10-year risk of having a heart attack or stroke. While the troponin tests have been use to diagnosis heart attack in the United States, Ballantyne said they have not approve as a risk assessment strategy.
The report said additional studies on troponin tests could help pave the way for using them as part of a globally accept formula on assessing risk for cardiovascular disease. Research in this area is leading us toward individualize care more and more, so they can better predict who’s at risk for developing adverse cardiovascular outcomes,” said Dr. Rebecca Vigen, assistant professor of internal medicine at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.
They was not involve in the research. This study is a step in the direction of personalizing care. Ballantyne said the ability to use the results from a simple blood test to help predict cardiovascular disease could help people avoid “the number one cause of pain, suffering, death and medical expenses” in the country.
Our major problem is that they do too little too late. If the first time you find out that you’re at risk for heart failure is when you actually start getting short of breath and you end up in the hospital, you probably have advance heart disease already, and it is going to be harder to treat than if that person took steps years earlier.”