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New blood test may spot heart attack faster

Gorkha Post

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A new blood test can help doctors more quickly determine whether patients arriving in the emergency room with chest pain are having a heart attack, a US study has confirmed.

According to new research published in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation, initial high-sensitivity test ruled out a heart attack in 30 percent of patients. The second, done at the one-hour mark, put another 25 percent in the clear.

Overall, the study found, that by the three-hour point, the high-sensitivity test had ruled out a heart attack in 84 percent of patients — versus 80 percent with the conventional test.

“We did not miss any heart attacks using this test in this population,” said lead author Rebecca Vigen, MD, MSCS, a cardiologist at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, adding, “The test also allowed us to determine faster that many patients who had symptoms of a heart attack were not having a heart attack than if we had relied on the traditional test.”

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The other patients had abnormal troponin results and received further evaluation. In the end, 2 percent were diagnosed with a heart attack, while others had heart-muscle damage from other causes.

The high-sensitivity test did not miss any heart attacks, Vigen said.

The test can help speed a heart attack diagnosis. But the biggest advantage, according to Dr Christopher Granger, a cardiologist at Duke University in Durham, NC, is that it more quickly rules out a heart attack in the many patients who are not having one. Grangeralso serves on the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association guideline committee for heart attack care.

“And that’s important to patients and their families,” he said.

One hope, Granger noted, is that the quicker test will encourage people with possible heart attack symptoms to call 911 and get help immediately. As it stands, people often dismiss symptoms because they don’t want to go the ER.

With Agencies Inputs

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Sudden cardiac arrests are more likely to happen on any day at any time : Study

Raghu Kshitiz

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Representationa image

A new study has showed that sudden cardiac arrests are more likely to happen on any day at any time, challenging previous claims that weekday mornings — especially Mondays — were the danger zones.

Previously heart experts have long believed that weekday mornings were the danger zones for unexpected deaths from sudden cardiac arrests.

“While there are likely several reasons to explain why more cardiac arrests happen outside of previously identified peak times, stress is likely a major factor,” said Sumeet Chugh, a Professor of medicine from the Smidt Heart Institute in the US.

“We now live in a fast-paced, ‘always on’ era that causes increased psycho-social stress and possibly an increase in the likelihood of sudden cardiac arrest,” Chugh added.

Almost 17 million cardiac deaths occur annually worldwide while the survival rate from sudden cardiac arrest is less than one per cent.

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For the study, published in the journal Heart Rhythm, Chugh’s team analysed data on 1,535 from the community-based Oregon Sudden Unexpected Death Study between 2004 to 2014, among which only 13.9 per cent died in the early morning hours, the findings revealed.

All reported cases were based on emergency medical service reports containing detailed information regarding the cause of the cardiac arrest.

“Because sudden cardiac arrest is usually fatal, we have to prevent it before it strikes,” Chugh said. “Our next steps are to conclusively determine the underlying reasons behind this shift, then identify public health implications as a result,” he added.

Apart from stress, other contributing factors may be a shift in how high-risk patients are being treated, as well as inadequacies in how past studies have measured time of death caused by sudden cardiac arrest.

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