A study conducted in Duke University Medical Center, led by Alexander T. Limkakeng Jr., showed an association of 5 metabolites in the blood with decreased blood flow to the heart. The study, published in the medical journal PLOS ONE, included 40 patients that arrived to the emergency department of the hospital with symptoms of coronary disease, such as chest, jaw and shoulder pain.
The study showed that the 40 patients, who underwent a treadmill stress test and showed signs of decreased blood flow to the heart, presented acute changes in these fatty acid and amino acid metabolites, which are energy sources for cells. The Duke team hopes that these changes could be an early diagnosis tool of restricted blood flow that could complement or even replace current tests.
“Cardiologists do a stress test to determine who’s at risk for having heart disease,” said Limkakeng, an associate professor of emergency medicine at Duke. “It guides them on whether they need a more invasive study like a catheterization. Augmenting the imaging of a stress test with metabolite biomarkers could make that process more accurate or more efficient.”
The literature already suggested a link between blood metabolites changes and heart disease, but they did not know the specific metabolic signature to look for. Now the Duke team of scientists analysed more than 60 chemicals or compounds in the blood, and they identified the five specific metabolites that appeared to change in patients with abnormal cardiac stress tests.
The researchers are planning a larger study to test their detection method for coronary artery disease.
Source: Science Daily