Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Heart Disease Health Center

Font Size

New Test Predicts Heart Attacks

Experimental Blood Test Rules Out Other Causes of Chest Pain
WebMD Health News

Oct. 23, 2003 -- A new blood test may allow emergency room doctors to quickly determine whether a person with chest pain is soon to have a heart attack.

Researchers say if further studies confirm these findings, the test may provide a new way to predict heart attacks months ahead of time and allow doctors to intervene with potentially lifesaving treatments.

Currently available tests usually don't detect heart attacks until after they have occurred. For example, troponin blood tests measure levels of a protein found in the blood that indicate heart tissue damage (such as from a heart attack) after it happens.

But the experimental new test measures levels of an enzyme called myeloperoxidase that is higher in people with heart disease. In addition, the enzyme is found in clogged areas of heart arteries that are vulnerable to rupture -- thus causing a heart attack.

Test Predicts Heart Attack

The new blood test accurately predicted who was likely to suffer a heart attack as well as the risk of other major heart problems in the one to six months following an emergency room visit for chest pain. The study on 604 people appears in today's New England Journal of Medicine.

The test also rules out other causes of chest pain, such as severe heartburn.

Unlike other currently used tests, researchers found that the new heart attack blood test identified people at risk for heart problems even though they had no evidence of heart tissue damage.

The study also showed that the levels of myeloperoxidase rose much more quickly than traditional heart attack blood tests such as troponin -- giving doctors a sign that the risk of heart attack is high.

This blood test could help doctors pinpoint patients who need immediate treatment for heart disease to help prevent an impending heart attack.

The results suggest that measuring myeloperoxidase in patients complaining with chest pain may identify those at increased risk of heart attack who might not otherwise be identified without surgery, write researcher Marie-Louise Brennan, PhD, of The Cleveland Clinic, and colleagues.

Today on WebMD

x-ray of human heart
A visual guide.
atrial fibrillation
Symptoms and causes.
heart rate graph
10 things to never do.
heart rate
Get the facts.
empty football helmet
red wine
eating blueberries
Simple Steps to Lower Cholesterol
Inside A Heart Attack
Omega 3 Sources
Salt Shockers
lowering blood pressure