Heart attacks to be better detected in future?

22 March 2012

Doctors could have the means to predict when a person is about to have a heart attack, after a potentially revolutionary medical breakthrough.

Scientists at the Scripps Translational Science Institute in San Diego have managed to trace a blood sample to detect when cells in damaged vessel walls have sloughed off.

This finding could mean that patients could soon be able to go through a simple test in order to determine if their body is under threat of a heart attack.

Dr Eric Topol, a cardiologist at the San Diego centre, believes that the research, which has been published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, has the means to address "the greatest unmet need" currently facing the medical world.

At the moment, doctors are able to detect a heart attack when it is underway but fail to acknowledge it in thousands of people who are being treated for stress.

Dr Topol noted: "When someone is having the real deal, we know that. The real question is, is something percolating in their artery?"

According to the British Heart Foundation, the UK records an estimated 124,000 heart attacks each year, with around 62,000 of these occurring in men.

Posted by Philip Briggs

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