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The team developed a simple, interactive online application anyone can use to calculate their risk of having a heart attack within six months.
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New Biomarker-Based Model Predicts Imminent Risk of Heart Attack

Some 48 proteins, 43 metabolites, age, sex, and systolic blood pressure were associated with the risk of first heart attack

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Swathi Kodaikal, MSc
Photo portrait of swathi kodaikal

Swathi Kodaikal, MSc, holds a master’s degree in biotechnology and has worked in places where actual science and research happen. Blending her love for writing with science, Swathi enjoys demystifying complex research findings for readers from all walks of life. On the days she doesn’t write, she learns and performs Kathak, sings, makes plans to travel, and obsesses over cleanliness.

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Published:Mar 01, 2024
|2 min read
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A team of researchers at Uppsala University in Sweden have developed a prediction model based on a set of biomarkers measurable in a standard blood draw that can predict a person’s imminent risk of having a first myocardial infarction (MI), or heart attack, within the next six months. 

Per the WHO, cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are the leading cause of death globally. Over 17.9 million people (32 percent of global deaths) died from CVDs in 2019; around 85 percent of those deaths were due to heart attack and stroke. Having an active lifestyle and a balanced diet, detecting symptoms early, and treating them with appropriate drugs and technology have been shown to reduce the global CVD burden.

Led by Johan Sundström, MD, PhD, a cardiologist and professor in clinical epidemiology at the Department of Medical Sciences, Uppsala University, the team found that imminent MI can be predicted by analyzing key blood biomarkers involved in the biological processes that occur months ahead of a first attack.

Identifying reliable predictive biomarkers of heart attack

The researchers assessed blood samples from 169,053 individuals without prior CVD in six European cohorts. Some 420 of them suffered their first MI within the first six months of the study. Their blood was then each compared with four representative samples from the same cohort, forming a subcohort of 1,598 healthy members.

“We identified around 90 molecules that were linked to a risk of a first heart attack,” said Sundström in a press release. “The samples that are already taken in health care now are enough to predict the risk. We hope that this will increase people’s motivation to take their preventive medicine or stop smoking” he said.

The team also developed a simple, interactive online application anyone can use to calculate their risk of having an MI within six months. “We hope to be able to carry out a new study here in Uppsala to see whether the online tool provides the kind of motivation we intend,” added Sundström.

Though their risk prediction model can fairly predict CVD risk and the biomarkers are stable and easily obtainable in a simple blood draw, the researchers suggest the need for in-depth analyses before introducing them into the clinical setting.