Dr. Weeks’ Comment: We offer this test as needed and it is very helpful. Know about this test for you and your loved ones.
From: Harvard Medical School
Tuesday, July 07, 2009
Blood test can cut down on number of “missed” heart attacks
It isn’t always easy to distinguish someone having a heart attack from someone with a bad case of indigestion or a strained chest muscle. Out of every 100 people who are having a heart attack, between two and eight are mistakenly told they’re “fine” and sent home, suggest The New England Journal of Medicine and other journals.
But a new definition for heart attack from the American Heart Association, American College of Cardiology, World Heart Federation, and others should help cut down the number of missed heart attacks and make it easier to tell an attack from other conditions that can mimic one.
According to the new definition, the term myocardial infarction””heart attack, in doctor-speak””applies when there is evidence of heart-cell death due to insufficient blood flow. Key ways to determine this include the following:
•detection of a very high level of troponin, a protein found in heart cells •symptoms consistent with a heart attack •changes on an electrocardiogram that suggest insufficient blood flow to part of the heart.
According to the new definition, you are having a myocardial infarction if a blood test shows extremely high levels of troponin or a similar biomarker plus one or both of the following: symptoms of a heart attack or changes characteristic of one on an electrocardiogram or other imaging test.
Troponin is such a tell-tale sign of dying heart cells that expanding its use in hospitals and emergency departments could boost by 25% the number of people diagnosed each year with heart attacks. More will get the treatments they need and, at least in theory, will have better long-term survival and less disability. It also means that when a heart attack is ruled out, you and your doctor can be more confident that the decision was the right one.