Thanks to medical advances, doctors can often treat people who have heart disease, and even protect them from serious complications like heart attack, stroke or heart failure.
But how do you know which heart disease patients are at greatest risk for complications? Now, researchers have discovered that a simple blood test can help answer that question, by focusing on a certain protein called NT-PRO-BNT.
"What we think is that the blood test that detects NT-PRO-BNT levels can detect the heart that's under stress at very early stages in a way that may be missed by other types of heart tests that we routinely order." said Dr. Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, of the University of California, San Francisco.
The report in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association, says researchers studied about a 1.000 patients for more than three years and found that this protein blood test might even even spot trouble that would otherwise be missed in a treadmill stress test or an echocardiogram and most importantly, the test will help doctors improve their patients' prognosis by targeting better treatments to help them.