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Could these biomarkers identify high risk heart patients?

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Preventative cardiology researchers based at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (TX, USA) believe that a new blood test for protein biomarkers could identify individuals with early-stage heart disease, highlighting those in need of treatment.

The study, published in Circulation, analyzed data from 12,987 individuals compiled from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study, the Dallas Heart Study and the Multi-ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis. Over a 10-year follow-up period, participants (55% women; mean age 55 years) experienced 825 cardiovascular events.

The team assessed whether two known biomarkers of chronic myocardial injury – high-sensitivity cardiac troponin T and N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide – could be used to inform cardiovascular risk stratification and treatment decisions for adults who are not currently recommended for antihypertensive medication.

The data demonstrated that elevated concentrations of the two biomarkers could identify individuals with hypertension and elevated blood pressure, who are not currently recommended for antihypertensive treatments, but are at high risk for cardiovascular events.

Ambarish Pandey, co-author (University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center) explained: “One of the proteins, high sensitivity troponin, measures injury to the heart muscle, and the other, called N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide, measures stress on the heart muscle. The presence of these proteins is indicative of subtle long-term cardiac injury, like wear and tear over time.”

Further research is required to establish whether patient outcome is significantly improved when using these biomarkers to inform blood pressure treatment.

Parag Joshi, co-author (University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center) concluded: “We think this type of test can help in the shared decision-making process for patients who need more information about their risk. These blood tests are easily accessible and are less expensive than some other tests for risk assessment.”


Sources: Pandey A, Joshi, PH, Patel KV et al. Incorporation of biomarkers into risk assessment for allocation of antihypertensive medication according to the 2017 acc/aha high blood pressure guideline: a pooled cohort analysis. Circulation. doi:10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.119.043337 (2019)(Epub ahead of print); www.utsouthwestern.edu/newsroom/articles/year-2019/biomarker-blood-test.html

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