A new test can help reduce the risk of recurring heart attacks associated with cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of heart attack in the U.S. Antiplatelet therapy, which stops the formation of artery-blocking blood clots, is used as a preventative measure to reduce the risk of recurring heart attacks. Researchers developed a new type of antiplatelet therapy known as vorapaxar which helps improve effectiveness of standard treatment. Unfortunately, although the drug reduces the risk of a recurring heart attack, it comes along with serious side effects in 4.2 percent of patients.
In the study, researchers found that a high sensitivity cardiac troponin I (hs-cTnI) test can effectively help identify which patients will respond best to vorapaxar. This information can help physicians make more informed choices when prescribing the drug and reduce adverse side effects in patients who are likely to experience them.
The researchers measured hs-cTnl in 15,833 patients. Those with hs-cTnl concentration over 26 ng/L had a three-year rate of death, heart attack, or stroke of 18.6 percent, compared with only five percent in patients with hs-cTnI levels under 1.9 ng/L.
Study lead David A. Morrow explained, “This study quantifies the magnitude of benefit with more potent antithrombotic secondary preventive therapy in patients with increased [hs-cTnI]. This finding is of particular relevance for novel therapies such as vorapaxar for which the decision to implement additional therapy balances the potential absolute gains versus risk of bleeding, and cost.”
There are two other tests shown to help improve cardiovascular disease treatment by identifying patients with a history of heart disease who are at a higher mortality risk and healthy individuals at risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
With the first test, researchers found that glycoprotein acetylation (GlycA) is a strong indicator of mortality in patients with a history of cardiovascular disease. The second test demonstrated that patients with higher concentrations of N-terminal fragment prosomatostatin (NT-proSST) are at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease and death compared to the general population.
Having such tests in place is an effective way of improving treatment and reducing mortality rates among patients with cardiovascular disease.