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Blood test could aid cardiovascular care

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A new blood test can show whether patients with cardiovascular disease are taking their medication correctly, which could save lives and millions of pounds for the NHS, according to researchers.

Up to 40% of patients with cardiovascular diseases fail to take their medication correctly, which can lead to complications, hospital re-admissions and even death.

The new test, developed by researchers at De Montfort University in Leicester, can measure the amount of drugs in the body from just a single finger prick of blood. The test could be carried out in a clinic, pharmacy or even at home, with the sample then sent off to experts for analysis.

The test could save the NHS millions of unused pills and reduce the number of hospital re-admissions, the researchers claim. In 2007 there were around 251 million prescriptions for the treatment and prevention of cardiovascular diseases in England. If 40% are not used this equates to £800 million in unused medication.

Dr Sangeeta Tanna and Dr Graham Lawson are working with Professor Kamlesh Khunti and Professor Melanie Davies from the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust (UHL) and the University of Leicester to trial the test.

As part of the trial, the test is being used to monitor patients prescribed beta blockers and ace inhibitors, used to treat high blood pressure, and statins, which are prescribed to lower cholesterol levels.

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