New Study Shows Promising Results For Tests That Can Help Doctors Better Evaluate Potential Heart Attacks

14 Dec 2012
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Acute chest pain is one of the most common reasons people seek emergency care, and time is a critical factor in diagnosing and treating people who may be having a heart attack. The latest generation of diagnostic tests in development is expected to provide information that will be important to patient outcomes, potentially reducing the time to diagnosis of heart attacks by several hours. The specific performance characteristics of several troponin tests were evaluated in a new study published in Clinical Chemistry (1).

Blood tests for troponin—a protein found in the heart muscle—can detect heart muscle injury. The study, "Determination of 19 Cardiac Troponin I and T Assay 99th Percentile Values from a Common Presumably Healthy Population," evaluated 19 cardiac troponin assays in a healthy population of men and women, and included Abbott’s high sensitive Troponin-I assay currently under development.

"The focus of this study was to emphasize that presumably healthy individuals display different concentrations of cardiac troponin when measured by numerous troponin assays. High sensitivity troponin assays were shown to provide the ability to measure almost 100 percent of a healthy population, and demonstrated an important gender difference in normal cutoff cardiac troponin levels, with men having a higher value compared to women," wrote one of the study authors, Fred S. Apple, Ph.D., laboratory medicine and pathology, Hennepin County Medical Center, Minneapolis.

Recent advances have led to the development of highly sensitive troponin tests that have the potential to lead to a faster diagnosis of heart attacks. Many patients who visit the emergency department with a suspected heart attack currently have to undergo troponin tests upon admission, after 6 hours, and then 12 hours later before a definitive diagnosis is made. Highly sensitive troponin tests can potentially detect changes in troponin in 3 hours or less, which could allow doctors to reduce the time to diagnosis and potential treatment by several hours.

"The potential to quickly provide the correct diagnosis for patients with chest pain using these high sensitive troponin tests may help physicians provide the right care at the right time," said David Spindell, M.D., vice president, Medical Affairs, Abbott. "Abbott is committed to improving the ability of physicians to accurately assess patients presenting with chest pain by developing more sensitive tests."

(1) Apple, et. al. Determination of 19 Cardiac Troponin I and T Assay 99th Percentile Values from a Common Presumably Healthy Population, Clinical Chemistry, 58:11 (2012).

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