New blood test could be used to predict if a patient will have a heart attack
US researchers find specific cells in the blood of heart attack sufferers
Patients who suffer heart attacks have unique cells present in their blood, according to a new study.
The "significant" findings published in the journal "Physical Biology" could potentially be used to predict whether a patient is about to have a heart attack by testing for circulating endothelial cells (CECs).
As one person in the UK dies from a heart attack every seven minutes, the test is potentially life-saving if used by doctors.
Over a 100,000 heart attacks a year in the UK are caused by the build-up of fatty plaque on the walls of a person’s blood vessels.
If this wall breaks, plaque can be released into the bloodstream: blocking the blood-flow into vessels around the heart.
However, researchers at the Scripps Research Institute in California have discovered that CECs were also released into a patient’s blood.
The study assessed 79 patients who had suffered a heart attack, 25 who were healthy, and seven who were receiving treatment for diseased blood vessels.
Scientists concluded that the presence of CECs in a person’s blood after a heart attack was something not seen in healthy controls.
Prof Peter Kuhn, who worked on the project, explained that the results of the study are “so significant” that the next step is to establish how the findings can be used to identify patients during the early stages of a heart attack.
He added: "There are plenty of other ways to suggest that you are at long-term risk of a heart attack and there are good ways of diagnosing that you have just had a heart attack but what we don’t have is the ability to say 'you will very likely have a heart attack in the next three weeks and we need to do something about this now'."
However, Dr Mike Knapton of the British Heart Foundation, said: “In the short to medium term, it is unlikely to change how people in the UK are treated as we already have good ways to treat and diagnose heart attacks, and targets to ensure rapid pain-to-treatment times.
"This study appears to be laying the groundwork for future research to see if this test could be used to identify patients in the early stages of a heart attack."
Life & Style blogs
How Stephen Hawking is still alive, defying ALS and the worst expectations
The black and blue dress: Makers considering a white and gold version
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
The remarkable archaeological underwater discovery that could open up a new chapter in the study of European and British prehistory
Mother's Day 2015: When is it – and how did it first come about?
- 1 Forget 'The Dress': Here are five of the biggest news stories you might have missed
- 2 The black and blue dress: Makers considering a white and gold version
- 3 PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
- 5 Saudi Muslim cleric claims the Earth is 'stationary' and the sun rotates around it
£9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This role is based within a small family run ...
£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Design and marketing agenc...
£46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This property investment firm are lookin...
£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...