NICE recommends new tests for faster heart attack assessment

1 October 2014        

Blood in a test tube

Health authority NICE has recommended two new tests to diagnose heart attacks more quickly.

The tests measure the levels of cardiac troponin in the blood in people suspected of having a heart attack.

Troponin is a protein that is released into the blood when heart muscle is damaged, often as the result of a heart attack.

Current tests for troponin levels are usually carried out 10 to 12 hours apart to detect changes in levels, but the new tests will be able to highlight any change much earlier as they can detect troponin at lower levels in the blood.

The NICE guidance follows positive results from a BHF-funded clinical trial into the effectiveness of using one of these higher sensitivity blood tests.

Maureen Talbot, our Senior Cardiac Nurse, said: “These new tests will identify more cases of heart attack and enable earlier diagnosis and treatment as well.

“A heart attack is a potentially fatal condition that requires rapid treatment and early diagnosis is vital to ensure the best outcomes for patients.

“BHF-funded research has shown these tests could save thousands of lives if rolled out across the health service.”