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Myocarditis or heart attack? now you can distinguish it with “a drop of blood” – experts

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Myocarditis or heart attack? now you can distinguish it with
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A new medical resource will help reduce invasive practices in patients with heart disorders. It is a biomarker capable of differentiating between several similar pathologies such as myocarditis or myocardial infarction through a simple drop of blood.

Myocarditis is defined as an inflammation of the myocardium, the muscle tissue of the heart. The causes can be diverse: from viruses such as those of the cold or COVID, to bacteria and drugs. The diagnosis of myocarditis continues to be a challenge for scientists and advancing the investigation of this pathology is essential to reduce the number of deaths.

In fact, cardiovascular disease continues to be the leading cause of death in the world than infectious diseases such as COVID, according to data. So far, the only way to distinguish between myocarditis and heart attack was by performing a biopsy that is only done in the most aggravated patients or by cardiac MRI, although it is not available everywhere.

Now, a group of researchers from Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Cardiovasculares (CNIC) in Spain has managed to identify a specific blood biomarker of myocarditis, which allows differentiating whether it is other cardiomyopathies such as acute myocardial infarction. It is the first biomarker of these characteristics and its main novelty is that the test is carried out through a simple drop of blood.

“Our finding can become a new useful tool in clinical practice that allows an accurate and non-invasive diagnosis of myocarditis with just a drop of blood,” explains Dr. Pilar Martín, who leads the project, in a press release.

The results of this work, says the general director of the CNIC Valentín Fuster, are highly relevant since they validate the first marker in the blood that has high sensitivity and specificity, greater than 90%. 

Likewise, the researchers point out that future studies with the biomarker will evaluate its potential to predict risk in the short and long term, as well as monitor the persistence of myocardial inflammation and the risk of recurrence, clinical progression, or adverse ventricular remodeling.

The CNIC is the sole owner of a patent related to the biomarker and its use for the diagnosis of myocarditis. The center is currently in contact with industrial partners interested in its license who can contribute to the development and commercialization so that the technology reaches patients

The study has been published in the medical journal The New England Journal of Medicine and has been funded by Leonardo Grant for Researchers and Cultural Creators from the BBVA Foundation, among other entities.

Image Credit: iStock