Blood Test Developed to Highlight Risk of Second Heart Attack


Scientists are developing a blood test that quickly detects whether a person is at risk of having another heart attack.

The test analyses fats in the blood to predict secondary heart disease and stroke.

Higher chance

Scientists at the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute in Australia have been working on how to better predict risk in people who have already had a heart attack or stroke, or who have a history of heart disease. It is known that these people are at a higher risk of having recurrent heart problems.

The chances of people who have had a previous heart attack having another heart attack is reported to be between 18% and 45%, with those people who are diabetic having a higher risk than those who aren’t diabetic.

Fats in the blood

The scientists from the Baker Institute have identified plasma lipid biomarkers (fats in the blood) that improve prediction of heart disease and stroke, and are developing a blood test that could eventually be ordered by GPs to better assess their patients’ risk of having another heart attack or stroke.

The test was developed after a study which looked at 10,000 samples of the biomarkers. Those lipids associated with future heart attack or stroke were identified.

Simple blood test

The test will be a simple blood test, similar to the process of having a cholesterol test. It will use up to 10 lipid markers to diagnose heart disease risk. It will re-classify a patient’s risk of having another heart attack or stroke, and better identify those who are ‘high’ or ‘intermediate’ risk.

It is hoped the blood test, once tested and approved, will help doctors to treat patients appropriately, depending on their level of risk.

Closely monitor patients

Professor Peter Meikle from the Baker Institute said: “We hope to identify those individuals who are at greatest risk of a second heart attack so that they can be closely monitored and treated accordingly.

“Our test will use up to 10 lipid markers to better diagnose heart disease. It's a challenging, yet very exciting time. We effectively have the information and are in the process of refining the technology.”

Other diseases

It is hoped that the science behind this blood test could also be used to predict other serious health conditions such as diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.


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