New blood test could detect heart attacks early
Scientists including an have developed a new blood test that can help detect heart attacks hours faster than the current gold-standard blood test.
The new test measures a protein that is released to the bloodstream by dying heart muscle.
The protein is called cardiac myosin binding protein-C (cMyBP-C). The study found that cMyBP-C is released to the blood within just 15 minutes of cardiac damage, and rises to significant levels in three hours.
Sakthivel Sadayappan, PhD, senior author of the study, said that this is a potential ultra-early biomarker that could confirm whether a patient has had a heart attack, leading to faster and more effective treatment.
The only protein now used in blood tests that is specific to the heart is called cardiac troponin-I. It's the gold standard for detecting heart attacks. But it takes at least four to six hours for this protein to show up in the blood following a heart attack. So the search is on for another heart attack protein that is specific to the heart.
Like troponin-I , cMyBP-C is a protein specific to the heart. But it is more readily detected because of its large molecular size and relatively high concentration in the blood. During a heart attack, a coronary artery is blocked, and heart muscle cells begin to die due to lack of blood flow and oxygen. As heart cells die, cMyBP-C breaks into fragments and is released into the blood.
Sadayappan and colleagues found that cMyBP-C levels in a group of 176 heart attack patients were more than 18 times higher than cMyBP-C levels in a control group of 153 patients who did not have heart attacks. In a separate analysis of 12 cardiac patients who underwent a procedure that mimicked a minor heart attack, researchers found that cMyBP-C levels peaked four hours after the procedure. Researchers found similar results in a porcine model of heart attack.
The study has been published in the American Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology.
(Posted on 26-02-2014)