The Zoomer Report: Blood Test for Heart Attack

We’ve all heard stories about people pass a cardiac checkup only to suffer a heart attack days later. Now scientists have found a clue that one day may help determine if a heart attack is imminent, in hopes of preventing it.

Most heart attacks happen when fatty deposits in an artery burst open, and a blood clot then forms to seal the break. If the clot is too big, it blocks off blood flow.

The problem: Today’s best tests can’t predict when that’s about to happen.

But researchers have a new lead — by searching the blood for cells that appear to flake off the lining of a severely diseased artery.

They measured high levels of those deformed cells, floating in the blood of 50 people who’d just had a heart attack. But there were very few of them in the healthy volunteers. The research is reported in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

The next step is to begin studies to learn how early those cells might appear before a heart attack, and if spotting them could allow use of clot-preventing drugs to ward off damage.

Photo © Pali Rao

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Libby ZnaimerAbout The Zoomer Report
Libby Znaimer, a prominent Canadian journalist specializing in business, politics, and lifestyle issues, is producer and host of The Zoomer Report, a special feature on topics of interest to baby boomers and the 50+. It covers everything from health and wealth to leisure and volunteerism, from the special vantage point of the generation that has changed society in its wake.
Ms. Znaimer is also Vice-President of News and Information for Classical 96.3FM and AM740. Her first book, “In Cancerland – Living Well Is The Best Revenge” – was published in October 2007 by Key Porter.

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