It was reported that George Michael suffered from a form of heart failure when he died suddenly in 2016
A new blood test offered by GPs could trigger heart disease at a much earlier stage than is currently possible, avoiding serious symptoms and saving lives for patients.
It has been shown that the £ 15 test in the studies is 98 percent accurate and the results are available within three days, which means that cardiac patients no longer face an agonizing wait to be referred to a specialized clinic for scans. .
The test works by examining the blood for a protein that helps regulate blood pressure and fluids around the heart.
When the muscles of the heart begin to deform, the heart releases a greater amount of protein, the brain natriuretic peptide (BNP), which can be detected in the bloodstream.
Currently, heart failure is often diagnosed only when patients experience shortness of breath, fatigue or swelling of the legs and ankles.
In general, GPs send patients to a specialist in a hospital to perform more tests and examine the electrical activity of the heart and X-rays to detect damage or excess fluid.
However, most patients have to wait months to get the results, and their condition is likely to get worse, which increases the need for major cardiac surgery and the risk of sudden death.
The new blood test takes 15 minutes and can be performed by a GP, with results available to patients within three days.
People can be diagnosed that same week and implement potentially life-saving changes, such as adopting a healthy diet, exercising and taking medications to protect the heart.
The blood sample is drawn from a vein in the arm (like any blood test) and then sent to a lab. There, the presence of BNP is examined, which is released from the heart and rises when the coronary arteries stretch and strive to pump blood around the body, a typical scenario of heart failure.
Of the seven million Britons with cardiovascular disease, more than half a million will suffer from heart failure, the gradual weakening of the heart muscles. One of the victims was singer George Michael, who reportedly suffered from dilated myocardiopathy with myocarditis, a form of heart failure, when he died suddenly in 2016.
The new test specifically targets heart failure, which is estimated to account for almost 70 percent of all costs for NHS hospitals.
Heart attacks, which occur every three minutes in Britain, can cause heart failure because blood flow restricted to the heart can add pressure to the muscles. Other causes include high blood pressure, irregular heart rhythms such as atrial fibrillation, anemia, and birth defects.
Although the NHS Watchdog recommended and approved the new test, the National Institute of Excellence in Health and Care (NICE), in 2010, the new figures of the cardiac charity Pumping Marvelous show that only a fifth of doctors offer it to NHS patients.
A new blood test offered by GPs could trigger heart disease at a much earlier stage than is currently possible, avoiding serious symptoms and saving lives for patients. (Image Stock)
Martin Cowie, a professor of cardiology at the Royal Brompton Hospital in London, said: "We have known for many years that there is a simple blood test that can help rule out a life-threatening disease of heart failure.
"It is vital that this simple test be used for anyone who may have this condition, since the correct diagnosis quickly opens the treatment early."
The clinical start-up groups (CCGs) decide if the test is funded for patients in any given area.
Dr. Clare Taylor, a doctor from Oxford and a university professor whose CCG has funded the trial, says it's vital.
She adds: "I can do a simple blood test to check the level of a protein that increases when the heart is working too much. The blood test is really key to diagnose heart failure, so we can continue with the patient's treatment. "
Nick Hartshorne-Evans, heart failure sufferer and founder of Pumping Marvelous, says: "There is great ignorance about heart failure, and many people think it means instant death." This is not the case. All the evidence is that the test points to a greater likelihood of a better prognosis and quality of life for this serious life-threatening condition. "
The 47-year-old man was diagnosed with heart failure at age 39, five weeks after being fired by his family doctor. "They sent me with cough medicine and antibiotics," he says.
"It was only when I found myself struggling to walk that I was quickly taken to A & E and discovered that my heart was failing."
NICE is expected to publish a new guide in the coming months to reinforce its 2010 guidance on the use of the BNP test.