Heart attack test H-FABP 12 times faster than current methods
As the supplier of a pioneering diagnostic able to assist with differentiating between coronary pain and non-cardiac chest pain, Randox Laboratories has this week welcomed news about the importance of introducing new innovations which can significantly improve patient outcomes.
Prioritising people presenting with a heart attack over those with non-cardiac chest pain is one of the biggest challenges A&E doctors face – there are around 200,000 heart attacks each year in the UK, but around 1 million people come to A&E with chest pains. According to a team from King’s College London, as reported by the BBC, a faster, more accurate diagnosis of whether chest pain is caused by a heart attack would save the health service millions of pounds each year by sending well patients home and freeing up beds. Yet current testing methods do not efficiently differentiate between high-risk patients and the estimated 80% of patients who are not having a heart attack.
Randox’s revolutionary test for Heart-Type Fatty Acid-Binding Protein (H-FABP) however, when combined with current testing, is able to rule out a heart attack for patients who present at A&E with chest pain which is caused by other conditions such as respiratory issues, meaning they may not need emergency admission.
When measured at the time a patient presents to A&E with chest pain, H-FABP enables doctors to triage patients suffering with a heart attack more efficiently than before.
Dr. Gary Smyth, Medical Director at Randox Laboratories, hopes that more efficient testing will become widely available so that doctors can identify and prioritise patients at risk;
“Despite the best efforts of our NHS colleagues, EDs across the UK are under tremendous pressure. In many cases people are presenting with chest pain but aren’t suffering from a heart attack, and given that current cardiac tests are not as sensitive as clinicians would like, these patients are being admitted unnecessarily, taking up beds and valuable resources.
“It is imperative that newer, faster tests are adopted because fundamentally this means saving lives.”
H-FABP is released into the bloodstream within 30 minutes of a heart attack, whereas people who are currently admitted to hospital with chest pains may have to wait several hours for test results. Even the latest heart attack test to be adopted by the NHS, troponin, can take up to six hours to provide confirmation.
H-FABP, conversely, is released from the heart during the early stages of a heart attack and because it is so small, it can be detected when the heart cells are being damaged, rather than at the stage when troponin would usually be detected – when cell death has already occurred. The test can also be used to identify people who are at high risk of heart attack in the near future.
Dr. Peter FitzGerald, Founder and Managing Director of Randox Laboratories, commented;
“Research shows that patients who were troponin negative and therefore sent home from hospital, but who were positive for H-FABP, were at high risk of death – as high as a 20% chance of death that same year.
“If the H-FABP test was added to existing tests upon arrival at hospital, doctors could quickly and accurately rule out the 80% of chest pain patients who are not having a heart attack, allowing resources to be focused on those who are actually at high risk.”