New Test Saves Lives

Approximately every 40 seconds, someone in the United States will have a heart attack — that is about 805,000 people each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Time is muscle with heart attacks. The longer treatment is delayed, the more damage can occur to the heart muscle. Now, an advanced blood protein test offered at NorthBay Health is speeding up the process of getting care for patients suffering a heart attack.

The High Sensitivity Troponin screening test measures the levels of troponin I proteins in a patient’s blood. These proteins are released when the heart muscle has been damaged, such as with a heart attack. The more damage there is to the heart, the greater the amount of troponin there will be in the blood.

Troponin testing has long been a part of the process for identifying a heart attack, but the high sensitivity test offers a change in measurement values and results, which are completed more quickly. It allows providers an improved assessment tool to aid in quickly identifying and treating cardiac patients.

“It improves throughput times in the Emergency Department, because we are able to determine if a patient is in a low-risk, medium-risk or high-risk category more quickly,” explained Blake Cleveland, M.D., emergency medicine physician at NorthBay.

Determining if a patient is having a heart attack is vital to getting the care they need to survive.

The test also offers gender-specific tests. “This is important because we know women don’t always have classic symptoms of a heart attack and it may help us identify someone at greater risk,” said Dr. Cleveland.

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