Acute chest pain is one of the most common reasons people seek emergency care, and time is a critical factor in diagnosing and treating people who may be having a heart attack.
The latest generation of diagnostic tests in development is expected to provide information that will be important to patient outcomes, potentially reducing the time to diagnosis of heart attacks by several hours. The specific performance characteristics of several troponin tests were evaluated in a new study published in Clinical Chemistry. 1
Blood tests for troponin—a protein found in the heart muscle—can detect heart muscle injury. The study, “Determination of 19 Cardiac Troponin I and T Assay 99th Percentile Values from a Common Presumably Healthy Population,” evaluated 19 cardiac troponin assays in a healthy population of men and women, and included a high sensitive Troponin-I assay currently under development by Abbott, Abbott Park, Ill.
“The focus of this study was to emphasize that presumably healthy individuals display different concentrations of cardiac troponin when measured by numerous troponin assays. High sensitivity troponin assays were shown to provide the ability to measure almost 100% of a healthy population, and demonstrated an important gender difference in normal cutoff cardiac troponin levels, with men having a higher value compared to women,” wrote one of the study authors, Fred S. Apple, PhD, laboratory medicine and pathology, Hennepin County Medical Center, Minneapolis.
Recent advances have led to the development of highly sensitive troponin tests that have the potential to lead to a faster diagnosis of heart attacks. Many patients who visit the emergency department with a suspected heart attack currently have to undergo troponin tests upon admission, after 6 hours, and then 12 hours later before a definitive diagnosis is made. Highly sensitive troponin tests can potentially detect changes in troponin in 3 hours or less,2 which could allow doctors to reduce the time to diagnosis and potential treatment by several hours.
“The potential to quickly provide the correct diagnosis for patients with chest pain using these high sensitive troponin tests may help physicians provide the right care at the right time,” said David Spindell, MD, vice president, medical affairs, Abbott. “Abbott is committed to improving the ability of physicians to accurately assess patients presenting with chest pain by developing more sensitive tests.”
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 17 million people worldwide die of a heart attack or a stroke each year. By 2030, an estimated 25 million people will die from CVDs, mainly from heart disease and stroke. Cardiovascular diseases are projected to remain the single leading cause of death.3
Globally, cardiovascular disease is the main killer of older women. Women often show different symptoms from men, which contributes to under diagnosis of heart disease in women.4, 5 To learn more about women’s heart health, visit www.foryourheart.com, sponsored by Abbott.
1 Apple, et. al. Determination of 19 Cardiac Troponin I and T Assay 99th Percentile Values from a Common Presumably Healthy Population, Clinical Chemistry, 58:11 (2012).
2 Hamm, et. al. ESC Guidelines for the management of acute coronary syndromes in patients presenting without persistent ST-segment elevation The Task Force for the management of acute coronary syndromes (ACS) in patients presenting without persistent ST-segment elevation of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC), European Heart Journal. (2011) 32, 2999–3054.
3 Cardiovascular Diseases Fact Sheet. World Health Organization, September 2012. Web site: www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs317.
4 Women and Health Fact Sheet, World Health Organization, November 2009. Web site: www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs334/en/
5 Women and Cardiovascular Disease. World Heart Federation. Web site: www.world-heart-federation.org/press/fact-sheets/women-and-cardiovascular-disease.