A simple blood test can identify people who are at risk for a heart attack, including thousands who don't have high cholesterol, according to researchers at Oregon Health & Science University.
The new test measures gamma-prime fibrinogen, a component of the blood's clotting mechanism. Elevated levels indicate greater likelihood of a heart attack, even when other signs don't point to cardiovascular trouble, says David H. Farrell, Ph.D., professor of pathology in the OHSU School of Medicine and a member of OHSU's Heart Research Center. The results were recently published in Clinical Chemistry.
"Half a million people suffer fatal heart attacks each year," Farrell says. "About 250,000 of the patients who die have normal cholesterol and some of the patients with normal cholesterol also have elevated levels of gamma-prime fibrinogen. We think this is another risk factor that we should test for."
Farrell and his team confirmed the effectiveness of the gamma-prime fibrinogen test by analyzing 3,400 blood samples from the landmark Framingham Heart Study, the oldest and most prestigious cardiovascular disease study in the world. In addition, OHSU's analysis of the Framingham samples found that patients with well-established heart attack risk factors, including cholesterol, high body mass index, smoking and diabetes also have elevated gamma-prime fibrinogen levels.
"We found that if your gamma-prime fibrinogen levels were in the top 25 percent, you had seven times greater odds of having coronary artery disease," Farrell says.
A small pilot study in 2002 gave OHSU researchers their first inkling that gamma-prime fibrinogen might be linked to heart disease. They obtained the Framingham samples – which are rarely shared – and proved the link. The next step is using the test at several hospitals and medical centers to demonstrate it works on a large scale.
"It will take some time to build consensus within the field of cardiology for this test," Farrell says. "The gamma-prime fibrinogen test would be used in conjunction with a cholesterol test to better predict who is likely to suffer a heart attack. Ultimately we are optimistic we can identify people who are at risk who didn't know they are at risk."
OHSU has filed a provisional patent application for a gamma-prime fibrinogen test. Farrell and his colleagues also have formed a company called Gamma Therapeutics, Inc. to mass-produce the assay. OHSU has a process in place to review and manage the individual and institutional conflicts of interest that may arise through its start-up companies.
The gamma-prime fibrinogen research was sponsored by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health.
Oregon Health & Science University is the state's only health and research university, and Oregon's only academic health center. OHSU is Portland's largest employer and the fourth largest in Oregon (excluding government). OHSU's size contributes to its ability to provide many services and community support activities not found anywhere else in the state. It serves patients from every corner of the state, and is a conduit for learning for more than 3,400 students and trainees. OHSU is the source of more than 200 community outreach programs that bring health and education services to every county in the state.
Ken Olsen | EurekAlert!
Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery
20.01.2017 | GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung GmbH
Seeking structure with metagenome sequences
20.01.2017 | DOE/Joint Genome Institute
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
20.01.2017 | Awards Funding
20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.01.2017 | Life Sciences