A new method to spot heart attacks in suspected patients within an hour has been found effective in three out of four cases in a clinical trial involving over 1,000 participants, reports a study.

The new technique to measure cardiac troponin T levels in the blood, a preferred biomarker for the diagnosis of acute myocardial infarction (MI), commonly known as heart attack, was previously tested in a small pilot study.

A new strategy called high-sensitivity cardiac troponin T 1-hour algorithm could help physicians treat patients with suspected heart attack faster and help save many lives as early diagnosis is critical for treatment and survival of such patients. “Introducing the high-sensitivity cardiac troponin T 1-hour algorithm into clinical practice would represent a profound change and it is therefore important to determine if it works in a large patient group,” said Tobias Reichlin from University Hospital Basel in Switzerland.

The team of researchers from Switzerland and Spain enrolled 1,320 patients who visited the emergency department with suspected acute MI and applied the high-sensitivity cardiac troponin T 1-hour algorithm to blood samples. With the algorithm, the researchers were able to determine that 786 (60 percent) of patients did not have an acute MI (“rule-out”), 216 (16 percent) were “rule-in” and 318 (24 percent) were to be observed because results were not conclusive.

“This rapid strategy incorporating high-sensitivity cardiac troponin T baseline values and absolute changes after the first hour substantially accelerates the management of patients with suspected acute MI by allowing safe rule-out as well as accurate rule-in of acute MI in three out of four patients,” the authors said.

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