Detecting whether a heart attack has occurred

Deskarati has friends in the Heart Hospital in London, so issues of the heart are interesting to us. We are sure the guys at the Heart will be well aware of this latest research but thought our other viewers would also find it engaging – Deskarati

During about 30 percent of all heart attacks, the patient experiences no symptoms. However, unmistakable signs of the attack remain in the bloodstream for days. MIT researchers, working with Massachusetts General Hospital’s Cardiovascular Research Center, have now designed a tiny implant that can detect those signs, which could help doctors more rapidly determine whether a patient has had a heart attack.

In a study of mice, the team showed that the new implants can detect three proteins whose levels spike after a heart attack. Such devices could be used to monitor patients who are at high risk of heart attack, allowing doctors to respond more quickly if an attack occurs, preventing more severe heart disease from developing.

Most surprisingly, the researchers discovered that the sensors not only detect the proteins, they also reveal how much protein has ever been present. This is useful because it allows biomarkers (biological molecules that indicate a disease state) to be detected even if they are no longer in the bloodstream, says Michael Cima, professor of materials science and engineering and senior author of a paper on the work appearing in the Feb. 13 issue of Nature Biotechnology.

The new paper builds on earlier work. In 2009, Cima and others reported on a sensor able to detect human chorionic gonadotropin, a hormone overproduced in some cancer cells. The new study demonstrates that the sensor technology can work with a range of other molecules at concentrations found in the body.

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One Response to Detecting whether a heart attack has occurred

  1. Daniel Robb says:

    Your Heart hospital friend was unaware of these interesting implants.

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