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New blood test checks for heart attack in the E.R.

Written By | Apr 15, 2014

WASHINGTON, April 15, 2014 — A new blood test is being used in emergency rooms to quickly assess whether or not the patient is having a heart attack. Because of the accuracy and efficiency of the test, patients that are having a heart attack can be treated more quickly.

The new test, a simple blood test discovered by researchers in Sweden, is, when combined with an electrocardiogram, reported to be  99 percent effective. That number isn’t as impressive as the next one.

Of the 9,000 patients sent home during the study, only 15 eventually had a heart attack. Even better, not a single one of those 15 who suffered a heart attack died. That’s the most important statistic.

Dr. Nadia Bandstein, of the Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm, believes this new strategy will avoid up to 25 percent of current hospital admissions for chest pain. During a time when healthcare costs are front and center, this is better for both patients and hospitals. Dr. Mark Plunkett and others want to see the test, which is currently not available in the U.S., available sooner than later.

Mayo Clinic Cardiologist Mark Jaffe, wants to wait and see the results from current U.S. studies.

The test is very sensitive. As said in a recent Fox News article, “It can pick up troponin from heart failure and other problems and cause unnecessary tests for that.”

He believes the test will be proven effective, but that there are some bugs to fix before moving forward.

Doctors never want to miss a potential heart attack. With more accuracy though, they can avoid unnecessary tests. Currently, chest pain sends 15 million people annually to the emergency room in the United States and Europe.

The majority of that 15 million are not having a heart attack. Anxiety, indigestion and a variety of others issues can present as chest pain. Still, two percent of patients having heart attack are currently sent home.

The hope is that this blood test will help avoid both unnecessary tests and discover more heart attacks before they happen. Saving lives and money is a win-win for the industry.

It’s still early. The findings were presented on March 31, at the Journal of the American College of Cardiologys annual conference in Washington, D.C.

Still it’s enough to have doctors optimistic about the future of cardiology and how many lives can be saved.

Jeff Barrett is an experienced columnist and digital public relations professional. He has been named Business Insider’s #1 Ad Executive on Twitter, a Forbes Top 50 Influencer In Social Media and has contributed to Technorati, Mashable and The Washington Times.