Scientists have found that an antibody called immunoglobin G (IgG) can prevent heart-attacks , even if cholesterol and blood pressure levels are high. A simple blood test could be enough to diagnose patients who are at high-risk of having a heart-attack in the next five years.
The five year study, which was partly funded by the British Heart Foundation , saw that patients with the lowest levels of IgG antibodies, had the highest risk of heart attack, while those who had high levels of IgG, were less likely to suffer from cardiovascular disease.
Researchers from Imperial College London and University College London studied more than 1,700 people at risk of heart attacks.
Their findings will enable doctors to be more efficient in identifying those who need to be more closely monitored. If the blood test reveals low levels of IgG, patients can be given preventative therapies before their condition escalates.
Not only that, if a patient is shown to have high levels of IgG, and therefore is less likely to suffer from an attack, doctors can quickly rule out the need for further treatments, saving resources and time.
Heart disease costs the NHS around £4 billion per year. It is the most common cause of death in the UK, killing more than 70,000 people in every year.
While many patients are already scanned and tested for signs of heart problems, scientists are always looking for cheaper and more efficient ways of highlighting the threat.
“If we can be better at selecting the right patients who need close monitoring and preventative therapies, we will for sure prevent heart disease leading to heart attacks,” said Dr Ramzi Khamis from the National Heart and Lung Institute.
“We hope that we can use this new finding to study the factors that lead some people to have an immune system that helps protect from heart attacks, while others don’t.
“We also hope to explore ways of strengthening the immune system to aid in protecting from heart disease.”
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