21 June 2017
Out of the 50,000 Kiwis seeking medical attention for chest pains each year, only one eighth of those are suffering from a serious heart condition such as a heart attack or unstable angina, said Upstream Medical Technologies chief executive Ruth Appleby.
Then, only two thirds of the people experiencing a serious condition are suffering a heart attack.
Current protocol suggests doctors admit anyone with chest pains to hospital and run tests over several days to rule out life-threatening conditions.
Along with members of the Christchurch Heart Institute, Upstream has developed a test - called UARatio - to rule out angina as a cause of the chest pains, which Appleby said could save New Zealand hospitals up to $70m if used nationally.
"While unstable angina isn't an immediate life-threatening condition, it does correlate with a higher risk of heart attack and there is a desperate, unmet need for clinical biomarkers to assist with clinical decision making," Christchurch Heart Institute associate professor Chris Pemberton said.
"Studies show that patients presenting with angina have a greatly increased risk of suffering a heart attack within six months and morbidity is high. Thus, early intervention is important and the UARatio test is an important step forward in improving the diagnostic process."
The rule-out test identifies the presence of a specific biomarker in the bloodstream and can detect an imminent heart attack before tissue damage occurs. It is currently 98 per cent accurate, Appleby said.
"There's a gold standard blood test to determine if people are having a heart attack, it's as good as that test in terms of accuracy," she said.
The test would be a useful tool to help doctors with their decision-making when it came to treatment.
NZ Herald, 8 June 2017 @http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11870315