A new gene test could soon detect those that are currently suffering from heart disease, as opposed to other tests that could someday predict your chance of developing it. The idea is to reduce the need for an angiogram which is an expensive and usually unnecessary test that is the current go to “defensive mechanism” for uncovering clogged arteries. The new gene test would pinpoint those patients that need the angiogram for sure and of course save the patient time, money and unnecessary stress and hassle associated with such a complicated procedure.
Since the test went on sale last year, it has been used by about 6,000 people; however, it still not exact. For example, it says that too many patients with chronic chest pain have heart disease when they really do not, and does not catch it in some patients that do have it. Given this, experts are saying that they would need to see much better outcomes before they would use it; however, as it becomes perfected, they definitely see the possibility for the new technology to become the standard in detecting heart disease.
The gene test is for non-emergency cases for people suffering from chronic chest pain. It costs $1,195 compared to the exorbitant $30,000 price tag for an angiogram, and is reviewed by insurance on a case to case basis. The way that the test works is that it measures how active 23 key genes are. It was 83% sensitive in picking up the obstructions typically associated with coronary artery disease. The test was created from the gene information of 226 patients and then further analyzed in 640 patients and validated on 526 more patients. The study called, Corus CAD, was performed by the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, and the findings were published in the Annals of Internal Medicine yesterday.