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New heart attack test for women

22 January 2015 09:46

Researchers have developed a new test they say can improve the detection of heart attacks in women

Researchers have developed a new test they say can improve the detection of heart attacks in women

A doctor claims a new test to diagnose heart attacks is capable of saving the lives of many women.

Professor Peter Weissberg, the medical director of the British Heart Foundation, hopes a large clinical trial of the highly-sensitive troponin test will prove its potential in spotting heart attacks in twice as many women as current methods.

The University of Edinburgh research is said to be capable of detecting smaller amounts of the protein troponin than the test currently used by NHS doctors.

Heart muscle cells release troponin after a heart attack, and by measuring the amount of the protein in human blood doctors can determine whether a person suffering from chest pains has had a heart attack.

As women have less troponin in their blood than men, it is thought the test will be particularly useful in diagnosing the condition among females.

The British Heart Foundation-funded research involving 1,126 patients produced some promising results.

Professor Weissberg says troponin tests specifically for women could diagnose their conditions at an earlier stage, allowing them to receive the right treatment much faster to keep them alive and prevent future heart attacks.

Symptoms of a heart attack - the NHS

• Chest pain often described as pressure or a squeezing in the middle of the chest. It can be severe or as minor as feeling like indigestion

• The pain can move from the chest to the arms, often the left arm, but also to the abdomen, back, neck and jaw

• Feeling dizzy, sweating, being short of breath, feeling or being sick, anxiety, coughing and wheezing


The NHS says if you suspect yourself or anyone else is having a heart attack you should ring 999 as soon as possible. If you have survived a heart attack you may want to take a holiday. For added peace of mind arrange travel insurance for people with pre-existing medical conditions.