A new blood test pioneered by a team at King’s College, London, could be in use at the NHS within five years. Able to rule out or confirm a heart attack in just 20 minutes, the test could save the health service millions of pounds, every year.
Currently, anybody admitted to hospital with a suspected heart attack would undergo an ECG. This practice is efficient in recognising major heart attacks, but poor when it comes to diagnosing more common, smaller cardiac events – which can still be life threatening even with proper follow-up care.
When an ECG is clear, or inconclusive, another test can be undertaken at A&E, whereby a blood test looks for unusual traces of troponin – a protein released into the blood stream during a heart attack. However, for this test to be successful, it needs to be repeated three hours later.
These regular occurrences lead to patients being kept in hospital for longer than necessary – often overnight. With roughly two-thirds of patients admitted with chest pains not suffering a heart attack, this can lead to many beds being filled by patients who are actually well enough to return home.
After a heart attack, it is believed that levels of cMyC (cardiac myosin-binding protein C) actually rise faster, and more substantially, than troponin proteins. Subsequently, the cMyC test could be implemented to rule out the possibility of a heart attack, much earlier.
One of the lead researchers behind the test, Dr Tom Kaier, calculated that at his own hospital alone the annual saving would be around £800,000, were the troponin test replaced. If we then imagine the impact this test could have nationwide, then we are looking at millions of pounds of NHS savings.
At Hygia, we are in awe of the hard work that goes into making our already efficient healthcare services even better. However, when it comes to recognising a heart attack, it is always a good idea to know exactly what to do when faced with the symptoms.
Our First Aid and Clinical programmes entail the most up-to-the-minute information on dealing, first-hand, with people potentially suffering life-threatening issues. Being able to calmly, professionally deal with these situations is a skill that needs to be learned, whether it is to aid with a friend or family member, or workplace colleague.
Contact us to discuss the training you or your team require. We can tailor our training solutions to any needs.