A new test could give doctors a head start in diagnosing which patents are most likely to suffer from a heart attack.
Developed by researchers at the University of Leeds, the test could prevent people from being admitted to hospital needlessly, leaving doctors free to focus their attention on other patients.
According to Professor Alistair Hall, casualty departments regularly see patients complaining of chest pains and while those in immediate or no danger are easy to spot, the people in the middle often remain in hospital for 24 hours while a diagnosis is made.
The new test, funded by the British Heart Foundation, searches for a heart-type fatty acid-binding protein (H-FABP) which is released into the circulation following heart injury.
Professor Hall said: "The H-FABP test is a major advance on what we had before. It appears to be able to detect milder and earlier degrees of heart injury than do current tests which detect heart cell death."
The test also enables doctors to identify patients who may be susceptible to a heart attack in the future.
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