An improved blood testing method could be used to help identify who is at risk of a future heart attack.
Research part-funded by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) found that this sensitive testing method can measure a protein that leaks out of damaged heart cells into the blood stream.
Furthermore, the test could be used to identify patients who have previously suffered from a heart attack who are at a high risk of dying from a second heart attack.
Professor Peter Weissberg, medical director at the BHF, commented: "This promising study shows us that by using a more sensitive test for heart muscle damage than is currently being used, more patients who come to hospital with chest pain are identified as having suffered a small heart attack."
He added that it has become clear that people who suffer from heart pain but just a small amount of heart damage are at a "very high risk" of having a larger and potentially fatal heart attack later in life.