Negative test of sensitive marker may help guide admissions decisions by emergency room
Patients presenting to the emergency department with an undetectable level of the blood biomarker high-sensitivity cardiac troponin T, and whose ECGs show no sign of restricted blood flow, have a minimal risk of heart attack within 30 days, according to research presented at the American College of Cardiology's 63rd Annual Scientific Session.
In a study of all patients (14,636 in total) reporting to a Swedish emergency department with chest pain over a two-year period from 2010 to 2012, researchers examined patients' blood levels of high-sensitivity cardiac troponin T, a marker that indicates damage to the heart.
Nearly 9,000 patients with an undetectable level of the biomarker, or less than 5ng/L, on initial testing, and whose ECGs showed no heart damage from decreased blood flow, were included in the study to examine the primary endpoint of heart attack within 30 days. Researchers found that the negative predictive value of the tests – the probability that patients are not at risk – was 99.8 percent for heart attack and 100 percent for death. This relationship held true regardless of patients' risk factors for heart attack or how long patients had experienced symptoms.
"Chest pain is a potentially life-threatening symptom, as well as being a very common one," said Nadia Bandstein, M.D., Department of Medicine, Karolinska Institute, Solna, Sweden, and the lead investigator of the study. "In our hospital it's the second most common symptom reported in the emergency department. Since there are no established ways to quickly rule out heart attack, many patients are admitted to the hospital unnecessarily, at a large cost to the patient and to society."
According to Bandstein, this is the first large study to specifically examine the use of high-sensitivity cardiac troponin T to predict heart attack risk. The impetus for the study stemmed from the hospital clinicians' observations that patients with undetectable levels of the marker who were admitted to the hospital almost never went on to have heart attacks or need any further work-up, and most went home within a day of admission.
High-sensitivity cardiac troponin T is a relatively new biomarker used in the diagnosis of heart attack and is detectable in the blood several hours before older methods of measuring troponins. Current guidelines recommend that high-sensitivity cardiac troponin T be analyzed at least three hours after the onset of chest pain, which commonly means that patients need to be admitted to the hospital for a second blood test and further evaluation. Bandstein says these study findings suggest that only one measure of the biomarker needs to be taken, and may allow some patients to be discharged directly from the emergency department.
"Despite our observations before the study, we were still surprised by the strength of our findings," Bandstein said. "Using this blood test along with an ECG, we will save about 500 to 1,000 admissions per year in our hospital alone, allowing us to use the beds for sicker patients."
Authors believe this study also has tremendous implications for the 10 million to 15 million patients in the U.S. and Europe who seek emergency treatment for chest pain each year.
During the 30 days of follow-up, 39 of the 8,907 patients were diagnosed with heart attack, and 15 of these patients showed no signs of damage on ECG. What this means, according to researchers, is that only one in 594 patients who seek medical attention for chest pain – but have no signs of heart damage on an ECG and undetectable levels of high-sensitivity cardiac troponin – are actually at immediate risk of heart attack. The average age of patients in the study was 47, and 53 percent were women.
Bandstein recommends that further research be done to assess the risk of heart attack among patients with slightly higher levels of high-sensitivity cardiac troponin T (5-14 ng/L). It will also be important to look at the prognosis for patients diagnosed with heart attack based on slight elevations of the biomarker, she said.
This study will be simultaneously published online in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology at the time of presentation.
The ACC's Annual Scientific Session brings together cardiologists and cardiovascular specialists from around the world each year to share the newest discoveries in treatment and prevention. Follow @ACCMediaCenter and #ACC14 for the latest news from the meeting.
The American College of Cardiology is a nonprofit medical society comprised of 47,000 physicians, surgeons, nurses, physician assistants, pharmacists and practice managers. The College is dedicated to transforming cardiovascular care, improving heart health and advancing quality improvement, patient-centered care, payment innovation and professionalism. The ACC also leads the formulation of important cardiovascular health policy, standards and guidelines. It bestows credentials upon cardiovascular specialists, provides professional education, supports and disseminates cardiovascular research, and operates national registries to measure and promote quality care. For more information, visit CardioSource.org
Beth Casteel | EurekAlert!
Laboratory study: Scientists from Cologne explore a new approach to prevent newborn epilepsies
24.11.2015 | Deutsches Zentrum für Neurodegenerative Erkrankungen e.V. (DZNE)
U of T research sheds new light on mysterious fungus that has major health consequences
23.11.2015 | University of Toronto
Nerve cells cover their high energy demand with glucose and lactate. Scientists of the University of Zurich now provide new support for this. They show for the first time in the intact mouse brain evidence for an exchange of lactate between different brain cells. With this study they were able to confirm a 20-year old hypothesis.
In comparison to other organs, the human brain has the highest energy requirements. The supply of energy for nerve cells and the particular role of lactic acid...
In laser material processing, the simulation of processes has made great strides over the past few years. Today, the software can predict relatively well what will happen on the workpiece. Unfortunately, it is also highly complex and requires a lot of computing time. Thanks to clever simplification, experts from Fraunhofer ILT are now able to offer the first-ever simulation software that calculates processes in real time and also runs on tablet computers and smartphones. The fast software enables users to do without expensive experiments and to find optimum process parameters even more effectively.
Before now, the reliable simulation of laser processes was a job for experts. Armed with sophisticated software packages and after many hours on computer...
Researchers at Heidelberg University have devised a new way to study the phenomenon of magnetism. Using ultracold atoms at near absolute zero, they prepared a...
AWI researchers’ unique 15-year observation series reveals how sensitive marine ecosystems in polar regions are to change
The warming of arctic waters in the wake of climate change is likely to produce radical changes in the marine habitats of the High North. This is indicated by...
Berkeley Lab researchers develop nanoparticles that can carry therapeutics across the brain blood barrier
Glioblastoma multiforme, a cancer of the brain also known as "octopus tumors" because of the manner in which the cancer cells extend their tendrils into...
17.11.2015 | Event News
21.10.2015 | Event News
20.10.2015 | Event News
24.11.2015 | Trade Fair News
24.11.2015 | Trade Fair News
24.11.2015 | Life Sciences