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Recognizing the Symptoms of Heart Attack

Coronary artery disease is the most common type of heart disease, according to National Heart Lung, and Blood Institute. Often, heart failure is silent killer, and not diagnosed until years after the heart begins to decline. In 2002, twenty-nine percent of United States deaths attributed to coronary heart disease or 699,947 people. Also, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease thirty percent higher among African Americans than among whites. In 2003, nearly thirteen million Americans diagnosed having stable coronary artery disease but have a higher risk developing health complications. Coronary heart disease kills more than seven million people worldwide each year. When coronary arteries, which supply blood to the heart muscle become hardened and narrowed causing coronary artery disease. The hardening and narrowing of the arteries: Buildup plaque on the inner walls of the lining of the arteries, known as atherosclerosis. The increase amount of plaque reduces oxygen to the heart and can lead to chest pain (angina) causing discomfort, swelling in the legs (edama), difficulty breathing, Shortness of breath, fatigue or death. More people are likely to be diagnosed with heart failure, especially among aging baby-boomers. During the past decade, the rate of hospitalization for heart failure has increased by 159 percent, and leading cause of hospitalization, over the age of 65. In 2006, American Heart Association estimates the total cost attributed to heart disease, including health care services, medications and lost productivity, more than $258 billion.

In 2002, Roche Diagnostics Division (Basel, Switzerland) of Roche, one of the world’s leading research healthcare groups in the fields of pharmaceuticals and diagnostics, received approval from the Food and Drug Administration to market a blood test, diagnosing congestive heart failure. The blood test for amino-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP): Given to patients in emergency rooms with shortness of breath (possible symptomatic of heart failure). The results of the test can determine if the patient is suffering from heart failure or some other medical problem (such as lung disease), would require different type of treatment. James Januzzi, M.D. from the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston said: “It is a hormone that the heart releases, and it’s sort like a mayday hormone. When the heart gets stretched, it releases, and it what it does as it actually helps counter balance the presence of heart failure.” Previous studies have shown, when NT-proBNP levels higher than 5,180, five times more likely those patients will die of acute heart failure then those patients with lower levels. However, the numeric test results have different meanings in regard to the patients’ age (higher levels increase with age) and gender. Also, higher NT-proBNP results, maybe associated to kidney disease. The test results help guide therapy or treatment. Providing the appropriate drug treatment, changing doses or adding new drug to current therapy, goal to get the NT-proBNP levels below 1,000. Dr. Januzzi said: “If you are below that level, the likelihood that you are going to have an adverse outcome whether its heart failure, destabilization or death is almost zero the idea here is that we actually using an objective measure to guide heart failure therapy as opposed to the standard ways that we would do it.” In many cases lowering NT-proBNP levels, prevented patients from undergoing heart transplants or taken them off the transplant list. In 2006, data presented by Roche Diagnostics at the American Heart Association, showed that NT-proBNP test could generate yearly savings up to $600 million in United States Healthcare system.

Minimal risk complications from NT-proBNP test includes: Developing a small bruise at the puncture site, the vein may become inflamed (rarely) after the blood sample is taken (Condition is called phlebitis and treated with warm compress applied several times daily), and bleeding disorders attributed to blood thinning medications or clotting problems (Advisable to notify health care professional before blood is drawn).

NT-proBNP Test is applicable to diagnose heart disease and heart failure in dogs. Identifying the presence of heart disease when clinical exam is inconclusive and presented with cough, lethargy (Tiredness), difficulty breathing or no symptoms. Recommended all dogs over the six years of age be regularly screened for heart disease. Canine CardioCare is the first and only canine NT-pro-BNP test in the United States.

Studies have shown people lowering high blood cholesterol, reduces the risk of heart disease attributed to heart attack and needing heart bypass surgery or angioplasty.

In August 2006, Response Biomedical Corporation (Located in Vancouver, British Columbia. Public traded company, listed on the OTC Bulletin Board under the symbol “RPBIF”) started patient enrollment in the United States, test portable RAMP NT-proBNP (updated version of NT-proBNP), aid to diagnosis of congestive heart failure, within minutes. The RAMP systems includes a portable fluorescent Reader and single-use, disposable Test Cartridges, and has the potential to be adapted to more than 250 medical and non-medical tests currently performed in laboratories. Bill Radvak, President and CEO of Response Biomedical said: “The congestive heart failure testing market exceeds US $400 million annually with strong growth driven by a market for improved detection, prognosis and monitoring.”