Blood Test Predict Heart Failure - High levels of protein called NT-proBNP in the blood may indicate an increased risk of heart attack, stroke or heart failure. Blood protein levels seem to rise when the heart is under stress and unhealthy. Doctors can use a simple blood test for the protein. If levels are high doctors know the heart is under stress, and the patient may need additional medicines or other treatments.
Study found that those with higher levels of a certain protein were more likely to suffer a heart attack, stroke or heart failure, and were at a greater risk of dying.
The test, developed by scientists at the University of California, can detect presence of the protein, known as NT-proBNP. The protein is present in the blood when the body is producing high levels of the hormone BNP, which it does when the heart is stretched or stressed.
When the heart wall is over-expanded by too much blood volume, or damaged by lack of blood flow to the heart itself, BNP goes up and NT-proBNP along with it.
Those with the highest levels of the protein were almost eight times more at risk of having a cardiovascular event or dying than those with the lowest levels.
"If the test showed the patient was high risk they might monitor them more carefully than they might have done,' he said.
Wednesday, January 10, 2007 8:56:15 PM