Blood test which measures a new bio-marker of early heart disease called “GDF15” has the potential to reduce this risk.
A new blood test may predict if a patient who has heart failure can pull through, which can then help doctors in their treatment. And for the first time, it is being tested on Asian population.
SINGAPORE – A new blood test may predict if a patient who has heart failure can pull through, which can then help doctors in their treatment.
And for the first time, it is being tested on Asian population.
Heart failure – a condition where the heart becomes weak and fails to pump blood out efficiently – is the top cause of hospitalisation among the elderly in Singapore.
More than half of the patients with this condition die within five years.
But a blood test which measures a new bio-marker of early heart disease called Growth Differentiation Factor 15 (GDF15) has the potential to reduce this risk.
Results from an on-going study by researchers at the National University Health System of 394 heart failure patients showed that the higher the level of GDF15, the more likely the patients will die or are re-hospitalised within a year.
An interim analysis after one year showed that 118 patients were re-admitted for heart failure, while 35 patients died.
The study is expected to run for a further three years.
Currently, the factors which doctors use to determine heart failure outcome include age, functional status and a standard bio-marker called NT-proBNP.
Researchers believe that if this GDF15 marker reaches the clinical stage, it will improve accuracy of diagnosis.
Associate professor Carolyn Lam, a consultant at National University Heart Centre’s cardiac department, said: “A marker that tells the doctor who is going to do worse is important, because there are many effective therapies for heart failure that exist.
“In medical therapy, there are many classes of drugs. Each of these drugs is associated with side effects. So knowing who needs it more, will make us be more aggressive in making sure that we escalate the doses.”
Going forward, the research team plans to increase its pool of patients, as well as study the blood marker in more categories, such as gender and ethnicity.