Biomarker Blood Test Could Reveal High-Risk Heart Patients in Need of Treatment

Without occasionally looking under the hood, it’s difficult topredict whether expensive car repairs lie ahead. In a similar way, preventive cardiologists are looking for ways to detect early-stage heart disease in people who aren’t currently in treatment. Preventive cardiology researchers at the University of Texas (UT) Southwestern Medical Center believe that a new blood test for protein biomarkers could identify these individuals. Their new study, published online on November 11, 2019 in Circulation, pooled patient data from three major patient populations including multiple ethnicities and totaling nearly 13,000 people. The team asked whether measuring levels of two biomarkers – proteins in the blood – would identify people in need of treatment. The researchers found that approximately one-third of adults with mild hypertension who are not currently recommended for treatment have slight elevations of one of these two biomarkers; these individuals were more likely to have heart attacks, strokes, or congestive heart failure over the next 10 years. In other words, these patients are “flying under the radar” and do not know that they are at greater risk of cardiovascular events. The Circulation article is titled “Incorporation of Biomarkers Into Risk Assessment for Allocation of Antihypertensive Medication According to the 2017 ACC/AHA High Blood Pressure Guideline: A Pooled Cohort Analysis.” Dr. Ambarish Pandey (left in photo) and Dr. Parag Joshi (right in photo) believe some patients at risk of heart disease could be helped by a biomarker blood test.“We think this type of test can help in the shared decision-making process for patients who need more information about their risk,” said preventive cardiologist Dr. Parag Joshi, Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine.
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