ECG tests for heart attacks are widely considered the norm, but recent studies out of London suggest that a simple blood test may be a more effective option for detection and swift treatment.
The cMyC blood test discovery has the potential to free up hospital beds as well as detect a wider range of heart attacks in at-risk patients. Currently, ECGs are effective at showing larger heart attacks, but not so capable of identifying more common, smaller ones that can still be life-threatening.
A patient with chest pain and a clear ECG test can currently have a blood test for troponin upon arrival at Emergency, however a follow-up blood test 3 hours later will detect if a minor heart attack has been present. The test focuses on any signs of damage or changes in the heart muscles.
“A blood test that could rule out a heart attack in under 20 minutes should be used routinely”, say UK researchers.
Thankfully, and incredibly, that is exactly what the cMyC test is capable of, according to a team from King’s College London. And with seemingly simple reasoning: “Levels of cMyC (cardiac myosin-binding protein C) in the blood rise more rapidly and to a higher extent after a heart attack than troponin proteins”, studies suggest.
That means doctors can use the new test to rule out a heart attack in a higher proportion of patients straightaway, according to the researchers who report their trial findings in the journal Circulation.
Plus, they say the cMyC test could be rolled out within five years, meaning that patients will have an increased opportunity for more reliable testing and a faster diagnosis when it comes to heart concerns.
A direct quote from the news article on the BBC states:
"Unlike currently available blood tests which need to be repeated at least three hours after pain it looks as though a single test is enough to make a confident decision on whether a patient has or has not suffered a heart attack. Not only can it be done earlier after the onset of symptoms but it also seems to be better at discriminating between heart attacks and other causes of chest pains. This is very important."