Testing Risk Of Heart Attack And Stroke

An inexpensive blood test may identify which heart disease patients are at the highest risk of a stroke or heart attack, allowing for more aggressive ways to help them, a study reported recently.

“We are good at diagnosing heart disease,” said Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, of the University of California-San Francisco, the study’s lead author. “But we’re not very good at distinguishing who’s at high risk for future problems and starting them on preventive therapies. This test could make all the difference.”

The study, published in the recent issue of Journal of the American Medical Association, involved some 1000 people who were followed for over three years. The blood test measured a combination of amino acids called NT-proBNP related to heart function.

They found that heart disease patients with the highest levels of the substance had nearly eight times the risk of heart-related failure as did those with the lowest levels.

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