Many heart attack patients have high levels of cardiac biomarkers in the blood for several months after leaving the hospital, with more shortness of breath and chest pain, according to a Henry Ford Hospital study.
The study examined a subset of patients in a 4,500-patient heart attack registry from 24 24 U.S. hospitals and found:
- 9 percent had elevated levels of the biomarker troponin (TnT) after six months.
- 33 percent had elevated level of the biomarker N-terminal pro-B-type Natriuretic Peptide (NTBNP) after six months.
Both TnT and NTBNP are associated with shortness of breath; NTBNP is associated with angina. A biomarker is a protein measured in the blood whose concentration can indicate the presence or severity of disease.
The study is being presented at the American Heart Association's annual scientific conference Nov. 14-18 in Orlando.
"These elevated biomarkers are definitely associated with a reduced quality of life for patients and may signal even worse outcomes," says David Lanfear, M.D., a heart failure physician at Henry Ford and lead author of the study.
"This data raises two important issues. The first is whether the biomarkers are a sign of ongoing problems or a reflection of the past heart attack itself. The second is whether closer monitoring of patients post heart attack can help target our treatment to those who need it most."
For the study, researchers assessed the biomarker levels in patients one month and six months following their discharge from the hospital. At one and six months, 14 percent and 9 percent of patients had elevated levels of TnT; at one and six months, 55 percent and 33 percent of patients had elevated levels of NTBNP.
The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health's National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (P50HL077113).