What can the 1 hour troponin test do?
Myocardial infarction is still the leading cause of death in Germany. Approximately 49,000 people die of this every year in this country. 220,000 patients are treated each year in German hospitals due to a heart attack. In addition, there are a large number of unreported cases, because not all heart attack patients know that they have had a heart attack. Other patients, on the other hand, mistakenly think they have a heart attack without this happening. The symptoms are not always clear. A new rapid test is now to ensure a faster and safer treatment for heart attack.
With the support of the German Heart Foundation, the German Heart Research Foundation (DSHF) has successfully tested a new rapid test called a 1-hour troponin test to diagnose a heart attack in 1,500 high-risk patients. The test detects within an hour whether a heart attack is present or not. This is crucial for further treatment of those affected.
A heart attack can have many faces
As the heart specialists in the German Heart Foundation report, a heart attack can manifest itself in different ways. Many patients complain of burning, oppressive chest pains associated with a tightening sensation. Others describe their symptoms as radiated pain that goes from the sternum to the arms, shoulder blades, neck, jaw and upper abdomen. In addition, concomitant symptoms such as excessive sweating, nausea, and shortness of breath may occur. Some patients also show less obvious signs.
Many symptoms associated with a heart attack can also indicate other diseases. "The faster and safer the existing disease can be diagnosed, the faster the therapy can be and the greater the chances of cure for patients," explains senior physician Professor Dr. med. med. Willibald Hochholzer in a press release on the new method of diagnosis. So far, doctors have mostly used an electrocardiogram to analyze heart currents. However, this is not the main criterion for sustaining a heart attack diagnosis.
Protein complex indicates heart damage
Heart specialists explain that a reliable diagnosis can only be made using so-called troponin. It is a protein complex that helps the heart muscle cells to contract, ensuring that the heart plays its role as a blood pump. If these muscle cells receive very little oxygen as a result of an infarction, troponin is released into the blood. According to the German Heart Foundation, this also happens in other diseases in which the heart is damaged, such as in a pulmonary embolism, septic shock or certain cardiac arrhythmias. "These patients, due to the relative lack of oxygen, also go through a type of? Infarct? Without vascular occlusion, a type 2 myocardial infarction," explains Professor Hochholzer.
Every infarction requires the correct treatment
Once the underlying cause decides the right treatment. When it comes to myocardial infarction, type 1 myocardial infarction is the main objective. This usually needs to be treated as soon as possible by immediately opening the affected coronary artery with a balloon and implanting a stent. "The test works perfectly well to rule out a heart attack, even in high-risk patients," says the professor.
How does the 1 hour troponin test work?
The test measures the presence of troponin in the blood. The so-called 1-hour Troponin Diagnostic Algorithm recognizes within an hour whether a heart attack really exists or not. The new test is recommended in the current guidelines of the European Society of Cardiology (CTE) for patients suspected of having a heart attack. At present, the test should be improved so as to also differentiate a type I myocardial infarction from a type 2 myocardial infarction. (Vb)