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New heart attack test a boost for women

Doctors could spot twice as many heart attacks in women by using a newer, more sensitive blood test, it has been revealed.

In women for reasons that are unclear, a heart attack often doesn't trigger the symptom most people associate with the condition: severe chest pain. This can lead to delays in diagnosis, which may impact on clinical outcomes.  

A more sensitive blood test has been developed that can help determine if a person with the symptoms of a heart attack has actually had one. The new test is more sensitive to levels of a protein called troponin, which is released into the bloodstream when there is damage to heart muscle. The researchers found if the new test was used alongside standard protocols, the rate of accurate heart attack diagnoses in women would have doubled. The test had less impact on the diagnosis for men. If the larger studies now underway confirm these results, more women may be identified who have had a heart attack and are therefore in need of preventative strategies, which could save thousands of lives.

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