New 20 minute blood test could save even more lives

28th September 2017

A new blood test that can detect signs of heart damage in 20 minutes could save hundreds of patients suffering from suspected heart attacks to be discharged more quickly, according to new research published in the journal Circulation.

The cMyC test heart test has been developed by researchers from Kings College, London and is twice as accurate as the one currently used by the NHS. This means that thousands of patients would have a speedy diagnosis and could be sent home quicker which would save the NHS millions of pounds every year. The researchers predict the test could be rolled out to the NHS within the next five years.  

The researchers carried out blood tests on almost 2,000 people admitted to hospitals in Switzerland, Italy and Spain with chest pain. It correctly excluded the possibility of cardiac arrest in 32 per cent of patients, or twice as many as the troponin test, which is the current NHS standard.

It’s estimated over two thirds of people who go to A&E complaining of chest pain have not had a heart attack.

Currently, all patients with suspected heart attacks undergo a blood test and an ECG when they arrive at A&E and again three hours later which is designed to detect damage to the heart muscle measure the levels of a substance called troponin to check the heart for damage

The new test looks for another biomarker - cardiac myosin-binding protein C (cMyC) - which is found to be even more sensitive at detecting damage to the heart muscle. Levels of this substance increase more rapidly after a heart attack than troponin, meaning the test can rule out a heart attack in a higher proportion of patients straight away.

Robert Hall, Cardiomyopathy UK Support Nurse said: “The findings from the research show a real step change in technology that is very promising. Many people with cardiomyopathy experience chest pains that are not due to a ‘heart attack’, so hopefully this new test will reduce unnecessary hospital stays. More work is needed, however, to understand the nature of chest pain in cardiomyopathy.”