Researchers develop thermometer like instrument to detect heart attack

08 May 2015

Researchers from Pohang University of Science and Technology in South Korea, have developed an instrument similar to a thermometer to detect heart attacks. According to Sangmin Jeon one way to tell whether someone has had a heart attack involved measuring the level of a protein called troponin in the person's blood.

Taken up with the simplicity of alcohol and mercury thermometers, the researchers created a similarly straightforward method to detect the presence of the protein in the blood of patients.

The test is done in a few simple steps and all it requires is a glass vial, specialised nanoparticles, a drop of ink and a thin tube.

The concentration of troponin in the blood increases when blood is cut off from the heart, and muscles are damaged.

Currently detecting troponin involves use of bulky, expensive instruments and is often not practical for point-of-care use or in low-income areas.

However, three-quarters of the deaths related to cardiovascular disease occur in low-and middle-income countries.  The numbers could curbed be with early diagnosis according to the researchers.

The journal Analytical Chemistry has detailed the findings.

Jeon explained that the process involved a glass vial, specialised nanoparticles, a drop of ink and a skinny tube and if the human serum with troponin was mixed with the nanoparticles and put in the vial, the ink climbed up a protruding tube just like a thermometer.

According to the researchers their new device would cut the number of deaths related to cardiovascular disease as three-quarters of the incidence of the disease occurred in low-and-middle-income countries that could not afford costly machines for diagnosis.

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