Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

New heart attack test could ‘significantly reduce burden’ on hospitals

  • Comment

A new test that rules out myocardial infarction could reduce hospital admissions by as much as 40% for patients with chest pain, according to UK researchers.

They found that a quick protocol, involving a blood test administered to patients who presented at accident and emergency departments with chest pain, could significantly reduce the admission rates of patients with heart attack symptoms.

Patients with chest pain make up 10% of A&E attendances. Until now, patients have had to wait in hospital for up to 12 hours to be certain no evidence of an MI could be detected in the blood.

“It is my hope that this diagnostic tool can be used widely within hospitals in the UK to rule out heart attacks”

Edward Carlton

The study, led by Dr Edward Carlton from Bournemouth University, used information provided by patients – such as what the pain feels like, any shortness of breath or history of MI – in combination with an ECG and a new blood test called high-sensitivity troponin. 

While using blood tests to rule out heart attacks is not new, hospitals have previously struggled to develop a clinically acceptable protocol that allows the discharge of a significant proportion of patients, without a prolonged hospital stay, said Dr Carlton.

The new approach would allow for up to 40% of patients to be discharged following a single high-sensitivity troponin blood test at presentation to A&E, he suggested. 

Dr Carlton said: “We were really pleased with the findings of the research as we have shown that our simple but novel diagnostic strategy can potentially reduce the increasing burden on hospitals.

“It is my hope that this diagnostic tool can be used widely within hospitals in the UK to rule out heart attacks, allay the fears of patients and improve productivity within hospitals,” he added.

The research findings are published in the BMJ Heart Journal.

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.