New diagnostic test could rule out heart attack fast

Have you ever had chest pain so bad you were sure that you were having a heart attack only to discover after several hours and expensive medical tests it was only that triple cheese chili dog barking back?

You are not alone. According to a 2009 Harvard study of the 6 million people who went to a hospital emergency room for chest pain only about 20% were actually having heart attacks. An article posted September 12, 2011 on tells us that soon doctors may be “Diagnosing Heart Attacks with an X-ray” instead of expensive and time consuming tests someday soon.

“The primary problem that we wanted to address was the issue of patients coming into the emergency room with chest pain who have to go through significant testing only to find out they never really had coronary disease,” Gregory Lanza, M.D, Ph.D, a cardiologist at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, explained.

Dr. Lanza’s team which is based at Washington University are working to create a rapid test to help get heart attack victims fast treatment and allow those with a touch of indigestion home sooner. The new tests will take minutes rather then hours they say.

“What we specifically do is we identify the signature of a heart attack, and that’s clot,” Dr. Lanza said.

The new test requires that a patient be injected with a solution which contains millions of tiny nanoparticles that are designed to bind to the proteins which form blood clots in the coronary artery. Doctors could then use a spectral CT scan imager to detect the particles and light up the clot.

“That’s the basis of a heart attack. That’s what these particles will see,” Dr. Lanza said.

The heart attack test is still in the experimental stage and not slated for clinical trials anytime soon but could be the diagnostic imaging tool of the future for more then just heart attack.

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