Wednesday, May 23, 2018
News Roundup

Swedish study shows simple test good at ruling out heart attacks

WASHINGTON — A simple test appears very good at ruling out heart attacks in people who go to emergency rooms with chest pain, a big public health issue and a huge worry for patients.

A large study in Sweden found that the blood test plus the usual electrocardiogram of the heartbeat were 99 percent accurate at showing which patients could safely be sent home rather than be admitted for observation and more diagnostics.

Of nearly 9,000 patients judged low risk by the blood test and with normal electrocardiograms, only 15 went on to suffer a heart attack in the next month, and not a single one died.

"We believe that with this strategy, 20 to 25 percent of admissions to hospitals for chest pain may be avoided," said Dr. Nadia Bandstein of the Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm.

She helped lead the study, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology and presented Sunday at the cardiology college's annual conference in Washington.

Chest pain sends more than 15 million people to emergency rooms in the United States and Europe each year, and it usually turns out to be due to anxiety, indigestion or other less-serious things than a heart attack. Yet doctors don't want to miss one — about 2 percent of patients having heart attacks are mistakenly sent home.

People may feel reassured by being admitted to a hospital so doctors can keep an eye on them, but that raises the risk of picking up an infection and having expensive care they'll have to pay a share of, plus unnecessary tests.

The study included nearly 15,000 people who went to the Karolinska University hospital with chest pains over two years. About 8,900 had low scores on a faster, more sensitive blood test for troponin, a substance that's a sign of heart damage. The test has been available in Europe, Asia and Canada for about three years, but it is not yet available in the United States.

The patients were 47 years old on average and 4 percent had a previous heart attack. About 21 percent of them wound up being admitted.

Researchers later looked back to see how the blood test and electrocardiogram would have predicted how they fared over the next month.

They figured that in order to find one heart attack in patients like this, 594 would have to be admitted — a huge waste of resources.

A test like this would be "enormously useful," and the study's results are "almost too good to be true," said Dr. Judd Hollander, an emergency medicine specialist at the University of Pennsylvania.

He believes the test should be available in the United States and that the amount of evidence that regulators are requiring to approve it is too high.

Dr. Allan Jaffe, a cardiologist at the Mayo Clinic, said the problem is not what the test rules out, but what it might falsely rule in. It's so sensitive that it can pick up troponin from heart failure and other problems and cause unnecessary tests for that.

"I think the strategy long-term will be proven," but more studies under way now in the United States are needed to show that, he said.

Comments
NFL policy: Players can stay inside during anthem if they won’t stand

NFL policy: Players can stay inside during anthem if they won’t stand

NFL owners passed a new policy Wednesday with the hopes of moving on from boycotts and political turmoil related to some players protesting by not standing during the national anthem before games.Under the new policy, NFL players are not required to ...
Updated: 9 minutes ago
Woman, pushing stroller, struck by vehicle on Bayshore Boulevard in Tampa

Woman, pushing stroller, struck by vehicle on Bayshore Boulevard in Tampa

TAMPA— A woman, pushing a stroller, was struck by a vehicle near Bayshore Boulevard and W Knights Avenue, according to the Tampa Police Department.The woman and child were hit by a northbound car at 11:43 a.m. Both were taken to a hospital with serio...
Updated: 10 minutes ago
Top 5 at noon: Gasparilla Bowl moving to Tampa; Lee Roy Selmon’s closing in Tampa; and more

Top 5 at noon: Gasparilla Bowl moving to Tampa; Lee Roy Selmon’s closing in Tampa; and more

Here are the latest headlines and updates on tampabay.com:GASPARILLA BOWL MOVING FROM TROPICANA FIELD TO RAYMOND JAMES STADIUMThe Gasparilla Bowl is heading across the bay. The annual college football bowl game is moving from Tropicana Field to Raym...
Updated: 22 minutes ago
Bayport Pier reconstruction on hold as Hernando commissioners grapple with budget shortfall

Bayport Pier reconstruction on hold as Hernando commissioners grapple with budget shortfall

BROOKSVILLE — The concept of a multimillion dollar budget crisis and the reality of one are two very different things, as Hernando County Commissioners learned Tuesday.Faced with an $11.5 million shortfall going into the new budget year, they discuss...
Updated: 28 minutes ago
NFL owners approve team-by-team anthem policy, will allow players to remain in locker room

NFL owners approve team-by-team anthem policy, will allow players to remain in locker room

ATLANTA — NFL owners approved a new national anthem policy Wednesday that gives individual teams the authority to set their own anthem-related rules and permits players to remain in the locker room during the playing of the anthem, the Washington Pos...
Updated: 29 minutes ago
State baseball: Carrollwood Day comes up a run short in semifinals

State baseball: Carrollwood Day comes up a run short in semifinals

FORT MYERS — Carrollwood Day's first appearance in the Class 3A state tournament ended with a 3-2 loss to Tallahassee North Florida Christian on Wednesday morning at CenturyLink Park.The Patriots (24-4) gave up three runs with two outs in the t...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Forecast: Relative calm before Invest 90L threatens to deluge Tampa Bay this weekend

Forecast: Relative calm before Invest 90L threatens to deluge Tampa Bay this weekend

ST. PETERSBURG — While rain chances will decrease over the next two days, it is only a relative calm before a broad low pressure system moves into the Gulf of Mexico, producing strong storms across an already drenched Tampa Bay for Memorial Day weeke...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Rays put Jake Faria on DL, call up Vidal Nuno

Rays put Jake Faria on DL, call up Vidal Nuno

The Rays, as expected, are placing RHP Jake Faria on the 10-day DL with a left oblique strain that he sustained during Tuesday's game.Somewhat unexpectedly, they are calling up LHP Vidal Nuno to take his place.Nuno, 30, has pitched parts of five seas...
Updated: 1 hour ago
At Bay 3, developers of Tampa’s Armature Works transform old industrial space into new co-work offices

At Bay 3, developers of Tampa’s Armature Works transform old industrial space into new co-work offices

TAMPA — The name of the new Bay 3 co-working space at the Armature Works goes back to World War I, when the red-brick warehouse overlooking the Hillsborough River was the maintenance barn for Tampa Electric’s streetcar system.As the name suggests, it...
Updated: 1 hour ago
CareerSource Pinellas bought a science center. Now the bill is coming due.

CareerSource Pinellas bought a science center. Now the bill is coming due.

In 2014, Tampa Bay jobs chief Edward Peachey sought to save the failing Science Center of Pinellas County.He asked a small panel of CareerSource Pinellas board members to let him acquire the educational center for $100.The Science Center, he said, ha...
Updated: 1 hour ago