Currently, there are blood tests that can show a heart attack or other problems in progress. But there may be a new blood test that can reveal whether you can expect a heart attack, stroke, or bypass surgery in your immediate future.
The test is still experimental, but it measures the level of inflammation in the arteries by tracking an enzyme known as MPO. A study at the Cleveland Clinic of more than 600 chest pain patients shows that a patient with high levels of MPO have a high risk of suffering a heart attack within the next six months. The good news is, according to researchers, that this simple blood test can find heart trouble that a treadmill and other blood tests can miss in patients with chest pain.
Dr. Stanley Hazen, Heart Test Researcher, says that this test will make it possible to help identify whether or not a person is at increased risk for having a heart attack, needing bypass surgery, or even having cardiac death in the next near term-six month interval better than what they could have with conventional screening tests alone.
By measuring MPO, doctors can quickly determine whether a patient's chest pain is heart-related or something else like acid reflux, lung inflammation, or stress. Researchers are hopeful the MPO test will become available to emergency departments within a year. The study is published in the New England Journal of Medicine.