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Assessing Heart Attack Risk
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Assessing Heart Attack Risk

January 21, 2014

According to new research, senior assisted living communities could see clients returning more quickly after going to the ER with chest pain, maybe even the same day.

At the recent American College of Cardiology 63rd Annual Scientific Session, research was presented that shows it’s possible to determine if chest pain is likely to indicate an impending heart attack. Researchers found that patients who aren’t showing restricted blood flow in an ECG and have an untraceable amount of high-sensitivity cardiac troponin T, a blood biomarker that indicates heart damage, are unlikely to have a heart attack within 30 days. 


Senior woman with nurse “Chest pain is a potentially life-threatening symptom, as well as being a very common one,” said lead researcher Nadia Bandstein, M.D. “In our hospital it’s the second most common symptom reported in the emergency department. Since there are no established ways to quickly rule out heart attack, many patients are admitted to the hospital unnecessarily, at a large cost to the patient and to society.”

High-sensitivity cardiac troponin T can be noted in the blood stream hours before traditional tests would be effective. This is a landmark study, as it’s one of the newer biomarkers used to diagnose heart attack risk, according to Bandstein.

A heart attack is caused by a cessation in the flow of oxygen to the heart, typically due to clogged arteries. The American Heart Association has estimated that someone in America has a heart attack roughly every 34 seconds. There is more risk of having a heart attack for those with high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure or a smoking habit. Risks can be reduced through physical activity, a low-fat diet with an emphasis on fruits and vegetables and weight loss if necessary. There are also prescription medications available to reduce blood pressure.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported roughly 720,000 heart attacks occur annually in America.

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