Congenital heart defects may not increase the risk of severe COVID-19 symptoms

Photo credit: CC0 Public Domain

A patient comes to the hospital with chest pain. Doctors suspect a heart attack and a quick diagnosis are important, but the confirmatory tests can be invasive and it could easily be something else. Could a simple blood test help non-invasively include or rule out a heart attack? A new study in the open access journal Frontiers in Cardiovascular Medicine undoubtedly suggests this. The study identified tell-tale markers in the blood of heart attack patients that differentiated them from patients with chest pain for other reasons. The researchers hope the results will lead to new diagnostic tests for heart attacks.

If you’ve ever had chest pain, the possibility of a heart attack in your head may have arisen. While chest pain is a major symptom of heart attacks, there are a variety of other conditions that can cause similar symptoms, and many of them are not serious. When a patient in the hospital has chest pain, doctors need to quickly determine if a heart attack is the culprit. Early treatment is important to limit the damage that occurs.

Currently, this may include coronary angiography, in which a catheter is inserted into the blood vessels of the heart. Angiography, while effective, is invasive and not something you want to do when necessary. In addition, in busy or poorly equipped hospitals, angiography may not always be available in a timely manner. Another test involves taking a blood sample to look for proteins that indicate damage to the heart muscle. However, these markers are sometimes unreliable and other conditions can increase them.

These problems inspired these researchers to look for new markers in the blood that create a unique fingerprint for a heart attack. They turned to small molecules, the metabolites that are created during biochemical processes in our body.

“We analyzed circulating metabolites in blood plasma samples from patients with chest pain, including myocardial infarction and other cases of chest pain, to identify possible markers for the diagnosis and early warning of myocardial infarction,” said Dr. Xiangqing Kong of the First Affiliated Hospital of Nanjing Medical University, corresponding author of the paper. “Such markers could be helpful in confirming a heart attack in good time when angiography is not available.”

The researchers collected blood samples from 146 patients presenting to the hospital with chest pain and 84 healthy volunteers. Of the 146 chest pain patients, 85 were later confirmed to have had a heart attack and the rest had chest pain for other reasons.

Notably, when analyzing the samples, the researchers found a number of metabolites that were present in varying amounts, and the differences were significant enough to successfully distinguish between the samples from heart attack patients and those with non-infarct chest pain, and the healthy volunteers. Three metabolites have shown particular promise as diagnostic markers.

“Even after considering other cardiac risk factors such as high blood pressure, smoking and diabetes in the anamnesis, the metabolites deoxyuridine, homoserine and methionine are of great importance as potential diagnostic and risk markers for heart attacks,” explained Dr. Jiye Aa from China Pharmaceutical University, another author on the paper.

In reality, a suspected heart attack patient is likely to undergo various tests before a heart attack is confirmed. However, expanding the available arsenal of reliable tests is helpful for doctors to quickly narrow down the situation. The researchers plan to do more research to evaluate why and how these biomarkers are implicated in heart attacks.

The diagnosis of myocardial infarction was more often overlooked in women than in men

More information:
Plasma metabolites alert patients with chest pain to the occurrence of myocardial infarction, Frontiers in Cardiovascular Medicine, DOI: 10.3389 / fcvm.2021.652746,… 2021.652746 / abstract

Quote: New blood markers may reveal a heart attack in chest pain patients (2021, April 23), accessed on April 23, 2021 from has been

This document is subject to copyright. Except for fair trade for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without written permission. The content is provided for informational purposes only.