Great news for hypochondriacs: you no longer have to go to the ER or see a doctor to find out if you are having a heart attack– at least if you live in Europe. Now you can do it from the comfort of your own home. A Chinese company announced that its consumer test for MI had received CE certification in Europe. Here is a summary of the product from Medagadget:
The AMI diagnostic kit can be used by consumers for the early diagnosis of myocardial infarction. It requires the user to place a blood sample on a marker after which a plus or minus sign will appear, indicating whether the user should seek medical attention. It is based on an assay of heart-type fatty acid binding protein (hFABP), which peaks as early as one hour after myocardial damage occurs, much earlier than the clinically used markers troponin and CKMB. The kit has already been on the market in China since 2007.
The Mayo’s Allan Jaffe provided the following comment to CardioBrief:
The self testing kit for hFABP (heart fatty acid binding protein) probes a non cardiac specific marker that is elevated fairly early after AMI. It is hard to tell its sensitivity compared to the standard laboratory assay which is quite sensitive. In general so called point of care (POC) assays are less sensitive. It is particularly likely to be elevated in larger AMIs such as ST elevation AMI (STEMI) very early. However, we would prefer to have patients with symptoms respond immediately to an emergency room rather than delay for any testing. In addition, since this test is not specific for cardiac damage, unless used in patients likely to have an AMI, it is likely to cause a large number of unnecessary presentations of individuals who are worried and who have non cardiac problems.
Cardiobrief; March 26, 2010
I will be very interested to see how this works out — how much people use the test, how many false visits to the emergency room, how many correct visits to the emergency room. Personally, I would like to have the option of taking a test immediately at home if I was not sure whether it was a heart attack or not… Once one has a had a heart attack, the fear is always there, with any kind of chest pain…