Just in time for American Heart Month, Vanderbilt Heart and Vascular Institute is offering a new blood test that can predict if a patient is at high risk for heart disease. Vanderbilt is among the first institutions in the country to offer this test.

“We now have a novel way to check for the presence of significant coronary artery disease by looking at genes that are associated with heart disease,” said John McPherson, MD, director of the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. “This is the first of many future tests that will move in the direction of evaluating diseases by looking at a patient’s genetics and the dynamic changes in expression of genes when disease is present.”

McPherson participated in a study to evaluate a non-invasive blood test called Corus CAD, which is manufactured by CardioDX. He and researchers from 40 centers across the country collected more than 2,800 samples from 1,795 patients without diabetes and with chest pain or at risk for coronary artery disease, who were undergoing invasive coronary angiography.

The study determined the test accurately predicted significant coronary artery blockage. Currently, cardiologists use stress echocardiography, myocardial perfusion imaging, and computed tomography angiography to check for the presence of obstructive CAD in patients with stable chest pain.

“The blood test is another tool in our tool box. For now, we will use it in addition to, and sometimes instead of, our standard approach to evaluating patients for coronary artery disease in the physician office,” McPherson said, adding that because the results from the blood test take three days to confirm, it will not be used in the Emergency Room for acute chest pain.

Source: Source is Vanderbilt University Medical Center