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21.11.19

New research finds heart attack protein linked to increased risk of early death

New Research, published in the British Medical Journal, has linked small increases in troponin to higher chances of death in heart attack sufferers.

Troponin is a protein that is usually stored within the muscles of the heart that controls the contractions of the muscles. Troponin is released into the blood stream when the heart is damaged, for example, through a heart attack.  

Medics use a troponin test to determine whether a patient has suffered a heart attack.

The research discovered that even tiny amounts of troponin being released into the blood stream increased chances of death among patients.

These findings come after a team the National Institute of Health Research Health Informatics Collaborative used anonymised data from over 250,000 patients who had had troponin tests from between 2010 and 2017.

Amit Kaura, NIHR Clinical Research Fellow, said:

“This is the first study to address the implications of raised troponin in a real-world large sample of patients across a wide range of ages. Doctors will be able to use this information to help identify the risk of early death in patients who have a troponin level measured.”

The researchers found that in young patients (18-29 years), those whose blood showed a raised troponin had a 10-fold higher risk of death than those whose blood did not.

The risk dropped with age, being only 1.5 times more likely for people aged over 90.

However, going against researchers’ initial thoughts, very high levels of troponin were linked to a lower death rate. They put this down to the types of heart attacks that cause very high levels, can usually be treated with surgery to improve blood flow to the heart and therefore reduce chance of death.

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