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Blood test may cut risk of future heart attacks

Potential heart attack victims could be saved by a new blood test which has been developed by a University of Edinburgh research team.

A study involving more than 2,000 patients at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary concluded that chest pain patients who took the new test had a 50% lower chance of dying from a heart attack within a year than those who underwent standard testing.

The new procedure detects extremely low levels of troponin, the protein released when heart muscle cells are damaged in an attack. A third more patients are diagnosed as having had a heart attack using the new test, a report in the Journal of the American Medical Association claimed .

Professor Peter Weissberg, medical director at the British Heart Foundation, said: “This promising study shows us that by using a more sensitive test for heart muscle damage, more patients who come to hospital with chest pains are identified as having suffered a small heart attack.

“Over recent years it has become clear that people who suffer heart pain but only a small amount of heart damage are at a very high risk of going on to have a larger, potentially fatal heart attack if left untreated. This test will help doctors identify this vulnerable group of patients.”

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