Imagine if a simple blood test could tell your doctor if you were having a heart attack or on the verge of having one, that's what researchers are developing in Austin. Biophysical is developing a "heart attack predictor test," and now they are trying to prove it works
Dr. George Rodgers leads the research team at The Heart Hospital of Austin, the only medical center in the world participating in the tests.
"We think that this is going to help us sort out who is really in trouble," says Dr. Rodgers.
Researchers need 400 blood samples from heart patients. To gather blood samples, nurses will ask emergency room patients who complain of chest pain if they mind submitting an extra tube of blood. Patients who say yes and sign a consent form will have their blood sample sent to the lab.
Scientists are looking for biomarkers, or specific proteins in the blood that indicates clogged arteries.
"They give us some information about something that's so important about heart attacks," says Dr. Rodgers, "and that is inflammation and unraveling or impending rupture of plaque within a blood vessel."
If the test proves to be accurate, it could help doctors diagnose potentially fatal heart conditions faster.
"It can revolutionize the way we diagnose and treat heart attacks," says Polly Mock, a clinical research director at The Heart Hospital of Austin.
And this means fewer invasive and costly medical tests, quicker action, and hopefully... more lives saved. Right now Dr. Rodgers says he hopes if the heart attack predictor test works, it could be FDA approved and available for patients within five years.