Art and Science of Laboratory Medicine

Art and Science of Laboratory Medicine

Sunday, April 6, 2014

First blood test to predict risk of sudden cardiac death

A simple blood test can predict a person's risk for sudden cardiac death, enabling physicians to more quickly and accurately assess a patient's need for an implantable cardiac defibrillator, new research shows. "This is the first test of its kind; never before have clinicians been able to accurately assess a patient's risk of sudden cardiac death by performing a blood test," the lead researcher said.

The aim of this study was to determine the association of SCN5A cardiac sodium (Na+) channel mRNA splice variants in white blood cells (WBCs) with risk of arrhythmias in heart failure (HF).
HF is associated with upregulation of two cardiac SCN5A mRNA splice variants. that encode prematurely truncated, nonfunctional Na+ channels. Since circulating WBCs demonstrate similar SCN5A splicing patterns, we hypothesized that these WBC-derived splice variants might further stratify HF patients at risk for arrhythmias.

Circulating expression levels of SCN5A variants were strongly associated with myocardial tissue levels. Furthermore, circulating variant levels were correlative with arrhythmic risk as measured by ICD events in a HF population within one year.

Read more:
Enhanced risk profiling of implanted defibrillator shocks with circulating SCN5A mRNA splicing variants 

Source: Journal of the American College of Cardiology
Image credits: Lifespan

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