A new blood test that identifies a specific biomarker may revolutionise how doctors diagnose heart attacks before recommending urgent treatment.
Researchers at the Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine focused upon cardiac myosin protein-C (cMyBP-C) and found it is released into the bloodstream after heart tissue begins to break down during a heart attack.
Sakthivel Sadayappan, senior author of the study, commented: "This potentially could become the basis for a new test, used in conjunction with other blood tests, to help diagnose heart attacks."
According to the research, the advantage of the new test is its accuracy. Current blood protein tests either take between four and six hours to get results or are associated with muscle damage.
The cMyBP-C protein is unique to cardiac tissue, meaning this marker can rule out muscle injuries and is quicker to find due to its large size and high concentration. Unlike an electrocardiogram it can also diagnose minor heart attacks.
The British Heart Foundation estimates that every year in the UK there are around 124,000 heart attack cases.