New test takes the terror out of heart attack 7



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Chest pain is one of the most common causes for hospitalisation worldwide, with most cases requiring a lengthy stay in the emergency department for observation and repeat testing. This puts enormous strain on hospitals and causes a lot of grief for the patients and their families.

However, a new test has been developed that will help identify patients who are at a very low risk of having a heart attack, leading to safe early discharge.

Using a high sensitivity blood test, researchers have identified the optimal level of a protein called troponin that could rule out a diagnosis of heart attack for two-thirds of people attending the emergency department, according to new research published in The Lancet todayUsing this threshold in routine practice could potentially double the number of patients suitable for immediate discharge directly from the emergency department, say the authors.

“Until now there were no quick ways to rule out a heart attack within the emergency department,” explains lead author Dr Anoop Shah from the University of Edinburgh in the UK. “We have identified a cardiac troponin concentration (less than 5 nanograms per deciliter; <5 ng/L) below which patients are at very low risk of heart attack either during the admission or in the ensuing 30 days. These patients are therefore potentially suitable for immediate and safe discharge from the emergency department. These findings could dramatically reduce unnecessary hospital admissions and provide substantial cost savings for healthcare providers.”

According to Dr Shah, “Over the last two decades the number of hospital admissions due to chest pain has tripled. The overwhelming majority of these patients do not have a heart attack. This study shows that low plasma cardiac troponin concentrations at presentation identify up to two-thirds of patients who are at very low risk of heart attack and could be safely discharged from the Emergency Department. Use of this approach is likely to have major benefits for both patients and healthcare providers.” 

Have you or has someone you love ever had a suspected heart attack? What was your experience? Would this fast-track test have helped you? 

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  1. This has been around for a while I have had my triponin levels tested several times during trips to the ER. The one time it was elevated I was kept in for a few hrs then discharged. Doesn’t ease the aniexity

  2. When my husband had his event there was no doubt. He cardiac arrested twice in ER. It was just like on tv, the alarms went off and doctors and nurses were running everywhere. His life was saved by 4 beautiful angels. 2 lovely girls who knew straight away what was happening and got him prepped and drove that ambulance like a race car to get him to hospital in time. Then 2 more lovely angels saved his life when he got to ER. 2 beautiful young lady doctors. We joke now that he wasn’t going anywhere when he was surrounded by 4 gorgeous women. We are very blessed.

  3. Low risk isn’t no risk though. What do they do for those sent home only to have an arrest, send the family a “sorry card”?

  4. This is not a new discovery is use in emergency department for years I work in emergency in 2002 and it was use then

  5. This is not new! Troponin checks has been around for at least a couple of decades now …

  6. What is alarming is the number of people that refuse to go to hospital because they don’t want to upset other family members. My daughter was telling us that a co worker turned up to work late not feeling well but insisted she was okay and although encouraged to go home resisted as she didn’t want to upset her mother at home who was not very well. Not long after being at work the woman collapsed losing feeling in her left side with facial droop. She had a stroke and it came to be known that she had experienced a small stroke earlier that day but ignored the signs for her mothers sake. I’m not aware of her present condition but can only feel she has now placed her self in a serious position as well as her mothers welfare. There’s no knowing if the end result was avoidable or not but I can’t help thinking she didn’t see the seriousness of her situation until it was too late.

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