Improved heart attack test could save millions for NHS

pharmafile | September 27, 2017 | News story | Research and Development biotech, drugs, heart attack, pharma, pharmaceutical 

A new research, funded by the British Heart Foundation, has led to the creation of a new heart attack test that could potentially save millions across the NHS. The innovation gives much quicker responses than the standard test, meaning that beds could be freed up for other patients and members of the public would be able to return home quicker, should they not be in any danger.

The blood test works by analysing proteins called cardiac myosin-binding protein C (cMyC), which appear in a large number after a heart attack. The test offers advantages over present tests as these proteins appear more rapidly and to a higher level compared to current measures, allowing for quicker testing and therefore for patients to be discharged earlier.

The tests used presently analyse troponin – another protein that appears in the blood after a heart attack. However, depending on the type of test used, up to 85% of patients may be required to stay in hospital over night for further tests in order to make sure that the patient has not had a heart attack.

Professor Sir Nilesh Samani, Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation said:

“Big heart attacks are often easy to diagnose with an ECG but smaller heart attacks, which are more common and also life-threatening, are more challenging.  The troponin test has been used for around 20 years and is currently the most powerful tool we have for diagnosing such heart attacks, but there is always room for improvement.”

He continued, “These initial results with the cMyC test look very promising for patients, who could be more quickly diagnosed and treated or reassured and sent home. This test could also allow hospitals to save hundreds of thousands of pounds by freeing up valuable hospital beds. However further research is necessary before it can be recommended as a replacement for the troponin test.”

The researchers used the test as part of its analyses into the new measure of risk in St Thomas’ Hospital in Central London; the results found that the new test could help 2,500 leave hospital more quickly and that would result in savings for the hospital of £800,000 per year.

If rolled out across the country, those savings could be multiplied many times over – saving a huge amount of money. There are hopes that the new measures could be used in hospitals within the next five years.

Ben Hargreaves

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