PORTLAND, Ore., April 20 (UPI) — A blood test may help identify those who are at risk of a heart attack but do no have elevated cholesterol levels, U.S. researchers said.
David H. Farrell, a professor of pathology at the Oregon Health & Science University School of Medicine, said the new test measures gamma-prime fibrinogen, part of the blood’s clotting mechanism.
Those who have higher levels of fibrinogen have a greater risk of a heart attack, Farrell said.
The researchers confirmed the gamma-prime fibrinogen test was effective by analyzing 3,400 blood samples from the Framingham Heart Study, a landmark cardiovascular study.
The researchers found the patients with well-established heart attack risk factors such as cholesterol, a body mass index that is high, smoking and diabetes also have elevated gamma-prime fibrinogen levels.
“Half a million people suffer fatal heart attacks each year,” Farrell said in a statement. “About 250,000 of the patients who die have normal cholesterol and some of the patients with normal cholesterol also have elevated levels of gamma-prime fibrinogen. We think this is another risk factor that we should test for.”
Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.