Canadian Press DataFile
A large study in
Of nearly 9,000 patients judged low risk by the blood test and with normal electrocardiograms, only 15 went on to suffer a heart attack in the next month, and not a single one died.
"We believe that with this strategy, 20 to 25 per cent of admissions to hospitals for chest pain may be avoided," said Dr.
She helped lead the study, published in the
Chest pain sends more than 15 million people to emergency rooms in
People may feel reassured by being admitted to a hospital so doctors can keep an eye on them, but that raises the risk of picking up an infection and having expensive care they'll have to pay a share of, plus unnecessary tests.
The study included nearly 15,000 people who went to the
The patients were 47 years old on average and 4 per cent had a previous heart attack. About 21 per cent of them wound up being admitted.
Researchers later looked back to see how the blood test and electrocardiogram would have predicted how they fared over the next month.
They figured that in order to find one heart attack in patients like this, 594 would have to be admitted — a huge waste of resources.
A test like this would be "enormously useful," and the study's results are "almost too good to be true," said Dr.
He believes the test should be available in the U.S. and that the amount of evidence that regulators are requiring to approve it is too high.
"I think the strategy long-term will be proven," but more studies underway now in the U.S. are needed to show that, he said.
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