New test detects heart disease early

Even if you have no symptoms of heart disease now, a new blood test could predict whether you may be at risk in the future.

A new study in the Journal of American Medical Association found that a new, highly sensitive blood test could detect levels of a protein associated with heart disease.

Researchers measured levels of the protein, Troponin T, in the blood of more than 3,500 people ages 30 to 65. They also conducted CT and MRI scans of all the volunteers and tracked their cause and time of death over seven years. The protein was detected in about 25 percent of the blood samples.

And the researchers found that people with detectable levels were nearly seven times more likely to die within six years from heart disease.

The new test is a more sensitive version of a blood test now used to confirm heart damage in emergency rooms. Since the new test can detect lower levels of the protein, researchers say it can predict heart problems in more people.

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