According to findings of trials on 6304 people, it was found that a blood test could halve the number of people admitted to hospital with a suspected heart attack. The findings are published in the Lancet.
The rapid test evaluates chemical in the blood and could help reduce stress for patients as well as money and it could also ease pressure on hospital wards by reducing admissions. The findings published in the Lancet suggest that the test was 99.6 percent accurate.
The British Heart Foundation believes that the test could provide faster answers without having any negative impact on patient safety. Approximately one million people in the UK visit the hospital with chest pain but the majority of them are sent home after a lengthy and anxious stay. This new test looks for troponin, a chemical released by damaged heart muscle. It only needs to be done once and can detect lower levels. Patients who are not at risk based on the test results can be sent home without long wait times and hassle.
The study was led by the University of Edinburgh. The findings estimate that two-thirds of patients can be discharged much more quickly if this test is used.
As explained by Dr. Atul Anand, one of the researchers and a physician at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, 80 percent of patients who come to medical wards with chest pain are typically sent home after 12 hours. This test could help avoid this hassle, the unnecessary cost and patient stress. The test costs less than £10. However, all hospitals do not currently have the facilities to perform it although it is pretty straightforward to introduce.
The National Institute for Heath and Care Excellence also recommends that the NHS use the more sensitive troponin testing kit. Prof. Jeremy Pearson from the British Heart Foundation believes that a faster and more accurate diagnosis of whether the reported chest pain is caused by a heart attack could save the NHS money and would also be better for patients. The findings from this study clearly show that with this test, a heart attack can be ruled out quickly and confidently without compromising patient safety.
Source: The Lancet
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