Can A New Blood Test Diagnose Heart Attacks Earlier?

17 Apr 2017

It has been recently reported that new research carried out has developed new blood tests to diagnose heart attacks.  The British Heart Foundation funded the study and it found that the new test is more sensitive and quicker in detecting heart attack damage than the current Troponin test.

The study included 4,000 patients at St. Thomas’ Hospital and the scientists from King’s College Hospital, London found that 47% of people tested for the Troponin protein fell into the “intermediate risk group”, and this meant that further tests were required to diagnose a heart attack.

Apparently the Troponin test can “rule out” a heart attack.  To diagnose a patient who is suffering from a heart attack can take longer.  The commonly used blood tests are Troponin, CK or CK-MB tests and serum myoglobin tests. These tests are often repeated to check for changes in a patient over time.

Apparently this new blood test could be available in the next six months to a year, with industry support, and this could lead to quicker diagnosis to allow those not suffering from a heart attack to be sent home much sooner.

Apparently in the UK there are nearly 200,000 hospital visits due to heart attacks.  There are many more people visiting hospital due to chest pain and it is essential for doctors to distinguish which patients are suffering from chest pain which could go on to cause a heart attack, and those which are suffering from chest pain for other reasons.

I am currently acting for several families individually in relation to potential claims relating to failure to diagnose and treat a heart attack.  Two of the cases I am involved in, both of the people suffering from chest pain were told that they did not have a heart attack.  One was not taken to hospital and died 10 hours later of a myocardial infarction, and the other attended the accident and emergency department and again was told he was not suffering with a heart attack and died approximately 10 hours later. Sadly in both of these cases the if deceased had been diagnosed with a heart attack it is likely that treatment would have been instigated and both of these patients would have survived.  The deceased who was not taken to hospital by ambulance was only 54 years old and lived eight minutes away from his local hospital, which is an eminent centre for cardiology.  He would have been treated and the balance of probabilities would still be alive today.  In the second case the deceased was 42 years of age, married with two small children and was incorrectly diagnosed with asthma.  He was not given any medication to treat his heart condition and it was quite clear on the ECG tracing that he had suffered a myocardial infarction, yet he was discharged home.

Professor Sir Nilesh Samani who is the Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation has been quoted as saying “This new test could transform the way we diagnose heart attacks, improving the sensitivity and ensuring that heart attacks are not missed when Troponin levels in the blood are extremely low. We now need more research to find out whether this test is effective and affordable”.

The new breakthrough blood test will hopefully have ability to diagnose patients much quicker which will lead to instigating treatment much more quickly, which will prevent cases of misdiagnosis and unavoidable deaths which change the surviving relatives lives forever.

Acting for the above families is Stephanie Prior, head of medical negligence claims at Osbornes. To speak with Stephanie about a potential claim contact her on 0207 485 8811. You can also reach her online by filling in an online form or e-mailing her at stephanie.prior@osborneslaw.com

 

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