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New blood test may spot heart attack faster

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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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Diabetes drug might ease heart failure risk

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A new research has showed that the diabetes drug Farxiga might do double-duty for patients, helping to ward off another killer, heart failure.

According to the findings were published in the New England Journal of Medicine to coincide with their presentation at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association in Chicago, Type 2 diabetics who took Farxiga saw their odds of hospitalization for heart failure drop by 27 percent compared to those who took a placebo.

Farxiga is a type of drug called a SGLT2 inhibitor. The compound is called dapagliflozin.

The study included more than 17,000 type 2 diabetes patients aged 40 and older. Nearly 7,000 had heart disease and more than 10,000 had numerous risk factors for heart disease, Wiviott’s group said.

Patients were randomly assigned to take a dummy placebo pill or 10 milligrams of Farxiga each day.

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“When it comes to helping our patients control and manage blood glucose, the ‘how’ appears to be as important [as] the ‘how much,” said study author Dr Stephen Wiviott, a cardiovascular medicine specialist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

“When choosing a therapy, trial results like these can help us make an informed decision about what treatments are not only safe and effective for lowering blood glucose but can also reduce risk of heart and kidney complications,” Wiviott said in a hospital news release.

Taking the drug did not reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke and cardiovascular-related death, the research team noted. However, patients who took the drug did see healthy declines in their blood sugar levels, plus an added bonus: a 27 percent decrease in their risk of hospitalization for heart failure.

Their risk of kidney failure and death from kidney failure also fell, researchers noted.

Two other recent studies of this class of drugs show that they “robustly and consistently improve heart and kidney outcomes in a broad population of patients with diabetes,” Wiviott noted.

With Inputs from HealthDay

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