This low-cost, portable device could diagnose heart attacks in minutes

Credit: CC0 Public Domain

In a new study from the University of Notre Dame, researchers developed a sensor that could diagnose a heart attack in less than 30 minutes.

Currently, it takes health care professionals hours to diagnose a heart attack.

Initial results from an echocardiogram can quickly show indications of heart disease, but to confirm a patient is having a heart attack, a blood sample and analysis are required. Those results can take up to eight hours.

In the study, the team targeted three distinct types of microRNA or miRNA and developed sensor that can distinguish between an acute heart attack and a reperfusion (the restoration of blood flow), or reperfusion injury, and requires less blood than traditional diagnostic methods to do so.

The current methods used to diagnose a heart attack are not only time intensive, but they also have to be applied within a certain window of time to get accurate results.

The ability to differentiate between someone with inadequate blood supply to an organ and someone with a reperfusion injury is an unmet, clinical need that this sensor addresses.

Additionally, the portability and cost efficiency of this device demonstrates the potential for it to improve how heart attacks and related issues are diagnosed in clinical settings and in developing countries.

A patent application has been filed for the sensor and the researchers are working with Notre Dame’s IDEA Center to potentially establish a startup company that would manufacture the device.

If you care about heart health, please read studies about drinking more coffee linked to lower heart failure risk and findings of excess fat in the neck may increase heart disease risk.

For more information about heart disease prevention and treatment, please see recent studies about the triggers of broken heart syndrome you need to know and results showing that this weight loss diet may prevent heart disease.

The study is published in Lab on a Chip. One author of the study is Pinar Zorlutuna.

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