New blood test could detect heart attacks more quickly

February 25, 2014

A new blood test can detect heart attacks hours faster than the current gold-standard blood test, according to a study led by Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine researchers.

The new test measures a protein that is released to the bloodstream by dying heart muscle. The protein is called cardiac myosin binding protein-C (cMyBP-C). The study found that cMyBP-C is released to the blood within just 15 minutes of cardiac damage, and rises to significant levels in three hours.

"This is a potential ultra-early biomarker that could confirm whether a patient has had a heart attack, leading to faster and more effective treatment," said Sakthivel Sadayappan, PhD, senior author of the study, published in the American Journal of Physiology – Heart and Circulatory Physiology.

Between 60 and 70 percent of all patients who complain of chest pain do not have heart attacks. Many of these patients are admitted to the hospital, at considerable time and expense, until a heart attack is definitively ruled out.

An electrocardiogram can diagnose major heart attacks, but not minor ones. There also are blood tests for various proteins associated with heart attacks. But most of these proteins are not specific to the heart. Elevated levels could indicate a problem other than a heart attack, such as a muscle injury.

The only protein now used in blood tests that is specific to the heart is called cardiac troponin-I. It's the gold standard for detecting heart attacks. But it takes at least four to six hours for this protein to show up in the blood following a heart attack. So the search is on for another heart attack protein that is specific to the heart.

Like troponin-I , cMyBP-C is a protein specific to the heart. But it is more readily detected because of its large molecular size and relatively high concentration in the blood. During a heart attack, a is blocked, and heart muscle cells begin to die due to lack of blood flow and oxygen. As heart cells die, cMyBP-C breaks into fragments and is released into the .

Sadayappan and colleagues found that cMyBP-C levels in a group of 176 were more than 18 times higher than cMyBP-C levels in a control group of 153 patients who did not have heart attacks. In a separate analysis of 12 cardiac patients who underwent a procedure that mimicked a minor heart attack, researchers found that cMyBP-C levels peaked four hours after the procedure. Researchers found similar results in a porcine model of heart attack.

"These findings suggest that cMyBP-C has potential as an ultra-early biomarker for the diagnosis of [], but this still needs to be validated using a large cohort study," Sadayappan and colleagues wrote. A cMyBP-C "might lead to an earlier diagnosis in patients who present at the emergency department shortly after coronary artery blockage. However, a systemic prospective investigation is required to establish such data for clinical use."

Explore further: Possible new blood test to diagnose heart attacks

Related Stories

Possible new blood test to diagnose heart attacks

September 20, 2011
Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine researchers are reporting a possible new blood test to help diagnose heart attacks.

85 percent of heart attacks after surgery go undetected due to lack of symptoms

February 18, 2014
Without administering a simple blood test in the first few days after surgery, 85 percent of the heart attacks or injuries patients suffer could be missed, according to a study in the March issue of Anesthesiology. Globally, ...

Team finds gene therapy a promising tool for cardiac regeneration

February 20, 2014
After a heart attack, there is often permanent damage to a portion of the heart. This happens, in part, because cardiac muscle cells are terminally differentiated and cannot proliferate after blood flow is blocked off to ...

Chest pain duration can signal heart attack

September 11, 2013
Patients with longer-lasting chest pain are more likely having a heart attack than those with pain of a shorter duration, according to a study by researchers at Henry Ford Hospital.

Researchers develop test to predict early onset of heart attacks

January 9, 2014
A new "fluid biopsy" technique that could identify patients at high risk of a heart attack by identifying specific cells as markers in the bloodstream has been developed by a group of researchers at The Scripps Research Institute ...

Recommended for you

Mouse studies shed light on how protein controls heart failure

October 18, 2017
A new study on two specially bred strains of mice has illuminated how abnormal addition of the chemical phosphate to a specific heart muscle protein may sabotage the way the protein behaves in a cell, and may damage the way ...

Newborns with trisomy 13 or 18 benefit from heart surgery, study finds

October 18, 2017
Heart surgery significantly decreases in-hospital mortality among infants with either of two genetic disorders that cause severe physical and intellectual disabilities, according to a new study by a researcher at the Stanford ...

High blood pressure linked to common heart valve disorder

October 17, 2017
For the first time, a strong link has been established between high blood pressure and the most common heart valve disorder in high-income countries, by new research from The George Institute for Global Health at the University ...

Saving hearts after heart attacks: Overexpression of a gene enhances repair of dead muscle

October 17, 2017
University of Alabama at Birmingham biomedical engineers report a significant advance in efforts to repair a damaged heart after a heart attack, using grafted heart-muscle cells to create a repair patch. The key was overexpressing ...

Blood cancer gene could be key to preventing heart failure

October 16, 2017
A new study, published today in Circulation, shows that the gene Runx1 increases in damaged heart muscle after a heart attack. An international collaboration led by researchers from the University of Glasgow, found that mice ...

Mitochondrial DNA could predict risk for sudden cardiac death, heart disease

October 11, 2017
Johns Hopkins researchers report that the level, or "copy number," of mitochondrial DNA—genetic information stored not in a cell's nucleus but in the body's energy-creating mitochondria—is a novel and distinct biomarker ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.