The early signs are positive that a spit test-taking just 10 minutes could detect the possible onset of a heart attack.
The findings – which are still to be peer-reviewed, were presented recently at the 2020 European Society for Cardiology Annual congress.
The aim of the spit test is to determine the presence of a protein biomarker called troponin within a person’s bloodstream. Troponin rises rapidly during heart attacks as it helps to regulate the heart.
The plan is for the tests to yield a positive or negative result within minutes.
Heart disease is the biggest killer
According to the World Health Organization, cardiovascular diseases are the number one cause of death, claiming an estimated 17.9 million lives each year worldwide.
One issue currently with suspected heart attacks is that symptoms can be quite generalized and vague.
These include chest pain, nausea, and fatigue.
Testing for troponin is more specific and can provide more accurate identification of a possible heart attack. However, the current testing is done with blood and takes about an hour for results.
Cutting down one hour to 10 minutes could potentially have life-saving consequences.
— European Society of Cardiology News (@ESCardioNews) August 26, 2020
“There is a great need for a simple and rapid troponin test for patients with chest pain in the pre-hospital setting,” said the study’s author Roi Westreich, of the Soroka University Medical Centre in Israel.
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“Currently troponin testing uses blood samples. In this preliminary study we evaluated the feasibility of a novel method using saliva,” Westreich added.
In developing the new test, research was conducted on existing troponin blood tests. A unique processing method was developed in order to analyze protein within saliva samples.
Further validation will certainly be needed. But initial testing has been encouraging – saliva samples from heart attack patients tested positive 84% of the time.
Image Credit: microgen