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New blood test predicts heart attack weeks in advance
By Janet Fang | March 21, 2012, 9:00 PM PDT
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A simple test that spots abnormal cells coming from the lining of blood vessels can predict a heart attack a week or two beforehand.
Heart attacks happen when fatty deposits in an artery burst open. A blood clot forms to seal the break, but if that gets too big, it blocks off blood flow.
Blood vessels are lined with ‘endothelial cells’ that control the ability of arteries to widen and prevent clots. When there are a lot of large, misshapen endothelial cells, a heart attack is imminent, the new study shows.
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In the future, patients at risk could have a nanosensor implanted in a vein to detect the abnormal cells and then send an alert to their phone.
The study was published in Science Translational Medicine today.
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This is a great break thru. Fascinating that if could warn us about the widow maker.
From my time on the first aid squad, there is a whole class of victims — men in the forties, smokers, maybe Type A — that just drop dead. And, we had no chance to save them.
(Each one made me sadder. The adage was that each member had a limited number of these in their “tank”. Then when they hit “empty”, they’d have to give it up.)
My break point was a thirty something cancer victim without insurance who needed twice weekly transport in the middle of the night for cheap treatment. He was riddled with cancer and every little jiggle caused him pain, despite painkillers. That was the breaking point for me after 14 years.
I can’t imagine how “real” medical professionals, doctors and nurses, deal with this.
It’d be great to avoid that sadness for all involved. No one would be happier, except for the victim who dodges death.
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