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New blood test may predict some heart risk

People carrying high levels of a protein called cardiac troponin T are more likely to have heart failure or die

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6:44pm, December 7, 2010

A new blood test might reveal hidden heart damage in some people that puts them at increased risk of heart failure or death, researchers report in the Dec. 8 Journal of the American Medical Association.

Although factors such as obesity, diabetes or high blood pressure hike a person’s risk of heart disease, many people have a heart attack without these problems. Efforts to identify other early warning signs have largely focused on two compounds, C-reactive protein and B-type natriuretic peptide, which have been tested as potential tip-off biomarkers. But only blood levels of BNP have shown some predictive ability (SN: 1/7/06, p. 13).

Two new studies, led by teams in Texas and Maryland, suggest that measurements of another blood compound called cardiac troponin T might outperform the others as a heart risk indicator, says cardiologist Christopher deFilippi of the University of Maryland School of Medicine

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