The quick new way to identify a heart attack

Chest pain is one of the most common reasons you’ll be making an emergency trip to hospital, but many patients

Chest pain is one of the most common reasons you’ll be making an emergency trip to hospital, but many patients don’t require urgent treatment.

Doctors are now trialling a new way of managing patients who show the early signs of a heart attack.

Breathing difficulties and chest pain are often the main symptoms of a heart attack.

Around 55,000 Australians will suffer a heart attack each year, according to the Heart Foundation. It says almost 9,000 Australians will die of a heart attack and it is important to recognise the early warning signs in order to have the best chance of survival.

In a new trial, doctors at Westmead Hospital in Sydney are discharging patients from the emergency ward if they test negative to an ECG, which looks for heart abnormalities and if a new troponin blood test — which signals damage — is found to be normal.

The troponin proteins — cardiac tromponin I and T — are said to be the best biomarkers available in determining whether you have suffered any damage to your heart. It has been found that at least 80 per cent of patients who have had a heart attack will show an elevated level of cardiac troponin I in their blood within two to three hours of visiting the emergency room.

It is anticipated that not only will the new blood test alleviate the straight on emergency departments in hospitals, it will also help find a heart attack long before it happens.

Have you heard of this treatment? Do you worry about suffering a heart attack? Share your thoughts with us.

  1. Frank  

    I think I had that blood test when I showed up at emergency in the middle of the night with chest pains – after 3 hours in intensive, they discharged me – I’ve since figured it was from doing push ups – so now I test myself when I feel chest pains by poking my thumb into my ribcage/chest muscles – if that hurts, it’s the outside muscles from doing push ups or such.

  2. NOLA  

    I went to hospital with chest pains and had an ECG which showed that I was having a heart attack. I had to go thru all the procedures and I had the angiogram which showed that there was nothing wrong with my heart. Apparently it’s something I was born with. Every time I have an ECG it’s going to come up with heart attack. How are they going to know if it is or isn’t without going through all the tests. It’s a worry.

  3. lurch  

    A couple of years ago I was having severe chest pain. Phoned home nurse, explained my symptoms to her and she sent a ambulance as I have had a few heart problems in the past. A quick x ray one blood test and out the door in just over the hour as “I was not dieing”. Seems some idiot female had driven under the front of a fully loaded passenger bus and they needed all beds vacant in emergency. Just given a letter for my GP at 10 PM and told to go see him in the morning not even one panadol for the pain as they rushed me out the door. My first question to my GP was “how do I know if I am having a heart attack” as the diagnosis seems to be wide open to a different interpretation by each doctor.”

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