News / Health

New Blood Test Predicts Heart Failure

Improved sensitivity identifies early problems

Multimedia

Audio
Art Chimes

A simple blood test may predict future heart disease.

A number of risk factors can predict your chance of getting a heart attack. High blood pressure or cholesterol, a history of smoking, just getting older - all of these make heart disease more likely.

When a suspected heart attack patient shows up at the hospital, doctors often test for a blood protein called cardiac troponin T, which can confirm a heart attack.

The newest versions of the test are super sensitive, measuring the protein at levels of just a few picograms - trillionths of a gram - per milliliter of blood.

"And this is allowing us to identify evidence of heart injury - troponin protein is released when heart cells die - in individuals who are seemingly without any obvious cardiovascular disease, whether it be chest pain and heart attacks, or whether it even be symptoms of heart failure," says University of Maryland medical professor Christopher deFilippi.

DeFilippi and his colleagues tested troponin levels in blood samples taken years ago from a group of almost 6,000 older Americans. Then, the researchers compared troponin levels with the health of the individuals as they aged. They found that higher levels of troponin correlated to a higher likelihood of heart failure, which is when the heart's pumping ability declines.

"So it could both identify individuals who were at the highest risk for developing the signs and symptoms of a failing heart, and also individuals who were at the highest risk of dying of heart disease."

DeFilippi says the troponin test turns out to be a strong predictor by itself of heart failure or of death from any kind of heart disease, and it does so independent of other risk factors.

"It is, as a blood test, similar to cholesterol, a measure of a continuum of values, so it's not a yes/no answer, but you're able to stratify people into very low risk, low risk, intermediate, [and] high risk for these events based upon the [troponin] number."

Christopher deFilippi says the test should be relatively affordable since the chemicals used to process each sample, only cost a dollar or so. And patients who learn they are on the path to heart failure can work with their doctor to minimize progression of the disease.

DeFilippi's paper describing his research is published online by the journal of the American Medical Association, JAMA.

You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid