Heart attack blood test ‘could cut hospital stays’

A blood test can more than halve the number of people admitted to hospital with a suspected heart attack, say doctors. They say the rapid test, which looks for a chemical in the blood, would reduce stress for patients, save money and ease pressure on hospitals. Trials on 6,304 people, suggested it was 99.6% accurate.
The British Heart Foundation said the test would produce faster answers without affecting patient safety. About one million people attend A&E departments in the UK with chest pain, only for most of them to be sent home after a sometimes lengthy and anxious stay. They have levels of troponin, a chemical released by damaged heart muscle, tested when they are admitted and again 12 hours later.
The new test also looks for troponin, but can detect much lower levels and needs to be done only once. So those given the all-clear can go straight home. The study, led by the University of Edinburgh and taking place in Scottish and US hospitals, estimated that two-thirds of patients could be discharged much more quickly.
Dr Atul Anand, one of the researchers and a physician at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, told the BBC News website: "It’s really exciting. When you look at patients who come to medical wards with chest pain, 80% are going home 12 hours later. "This avoids the hassle, cost and patient stress."
He said the test cost less than £10 although not all hospitals currently had the facilities to perform the more sensitive test. However, Dr Anand said it would be "pretty straightforward" to introduce and there was a "clamouring" to do it.