What if you could find out if you are at a high risk of heart disease before showing any symptoms? What if you had the opportunity to save your life before you were even aware that you were at risk of a premature death in the first place? You'd probably go for it, right? Well thanks to new information provided by researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center this may all be possible one day. These researchers have recently discovered a new blood testing method that could help doctors detect heart disease in patients who show no symptoms.
This new test looks for a protein called cardiac troponin T (cTnT), which research has discovered that people with detectable levels of this protein are about seven times more likely to die within six years from heart disease. So far researchers have tested for this protein on more than 3,500 different samples of blood provided by individuals, and out of that 3,500 25% of the samples were detected to contain cTnT with the use of this highly sensitive testing method.
This new testing method is actually just a more sensitive version of a standard blood test normally used to determine if someone is having a heart attack. What makes the sensitive test so different from the standard test is that the standard test can only detect cTnT in a very small percentage of the population, limiting it's ability for assessing risk in people who show no symptoms of heart disease. The sensitive test however can detect cTnT in almost everyone with chronic heart failure and chronic coronary artery disease, even before they show any symptoms.