A test that could help doctors detect a heart attack in patients almost on arrival to A&E has been developed by a team of scientists in Northern Ireland.
Randox Labratories, a diagnostics company based in Crumlin, has researched and created the £10 test.
Called H-FABP, doctors across the UK say they believe it could have a significant impact on how chest pain patients are managed within emergency departments.
The H-FABP (heart-type fatty acid-binding protein) test works by seeking out a particular protein in the blood which is released during the early stages of an attack.
Because the protein is so small it can be detected when the heart cells are being damaged.
Those behind the test believe checking for H-FABP when patients arrive at hospital with chest pain is the key to identifying those at long-term high risk.
H-FABP can also be detected quickly – as early as 30 minutes after a heart attack takes place.
Tests traditionally used by emergency departments can take up to six hours to provide confirmation of a heart attack, by which time cell death may have occurred.