This blood test could predict looming death, would you take it?

Aug 09, 2023
This new blood test could be a game changer for diagnosing illnesses and diseases. Source: Getty

Here’s a finding that could make your heart skip a beat: Researchers from the UK report that doing a blood test for a specific heart protein called troponin could help predict a patient’s risk of death in two years.

Scientists from the University of Southampton tested troponin levels in over 20,000 patients, with an average age of 61.

Their findings concluded that those with higher levels of this protein were almost four times more likely to die within the next two years, compared to those with normal troponin levels.

Of the total participants, 47 per cent received care as outpatients, 25 per cent were admitted as inpatients and 28.5 per cent needed emergency medical attention. Out of all the patients, 1,085 individuals had high levels of troponin. Within a year 1782 patients had passed away, with a total of 2825 having died just over two years later.

The researchers believe that this protein could serve as an indicator of other health concerns outside of heart attacks and that a single blood test may provide a person with early warning signs of a deadly threat.

The World Health Organisation estimates that 17.9 million people die yearly from cardiovascular diseases. Nearly 32 per cent of all deaths worldwide can be attributed to this, with 85 per cent specifically caused by heart attacks and strokes.

In Australia alone, there are over 1.2 million adults diagnosed with 1 or more cardiovascular conditions. With the prevalence of CVD rapidly increasing with age, it affects 11 per cent of older Aussies aged 75 and up.

However, scientists have stated that a blood test aimed at forecasting mortality is a long way from widespread implementation. Their study hopes to provide a better way of identifying and diagnosing illnesses, rather than serving as an announcement that the Grim Reaper is at your door.

In the past, researchers from the United States developed a new blood test that can detect more than 50 types of cancer.

The results of their research confirmed the new test is accurate enough to be rolled out as a multi-cancer screening test among people at higher risk of the disease, including patients aged 60 years or older, without symptoms.

The test, created by the Californian company Grail, also predicted with a high degree of accuracy where in the body the cancer is located and had a low false positive rate. Some of the cancers that the test is capable of detecting include liver, pancreatic and oesophageal.

Outside of CVD, cancer is a leading cause of death in Australia. One in two Australian men and women will be diagnosed with cancer by the age of 85.

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