(BPT) - Chest discomfort. Heartburn. Tightness or pressure in the throat, jaw, shoulder, abdomen, back or arm. These are all symptoms of a common heart disease called obstructive coronary artery disease (CAD), also known as a blockage in the heart arteries. And it can be deadly. In fact, it often is.
Given how serious a disease this is, you need to know your options for an accurate diagnosis. There’s new evidence for a simple blood test that can help your doctor determine whether your symptoms are due to heart disease or something else, like heartburn caused by a spicy meal, anxiety due to stress, or a pulled muscle in the upper chest area. An emerging field of medical research called cardiovascular genomics has given doctors a new way to discover whether their patients’ symptoms are caused by obstructive CAD just by looking at a patient’s blood sample.
A recent substudy of the Duke University-run National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute-funded PROMISE trial gave further evidence that this simple blood test can be used to help doctors determine whether obstructive CAD is the cause of patients’ symptoms as well as to provide information about the potential for future heart disease events.
The test (known as the Corus CAD® blood test) incorporates age, sex and gene expression measurements into a single score that indicates a person’s current likelihood of having a significant blockage or narrowing in their heart arteries. Unlike a genetic test, which provides information about a patient’s future risk of disease, this test provides the likelihood of plaque buildup in the arteries right when the testing is done.
Dr. Andrew Waxler of Berks Cardiologists Ltd. tells us that “Heart disease is not only the number one killer in the U.S., it is also incredibly expensive. The traditional and common tests and procedures doctors use, including heart catheterizations, are expensive, though these are very valuable tools when used with the right people. The beauty of this simple blood test is it’s not very expensive, relatively speaking, and it will direct who needs the more expensive and more risky tests, and who doesn’t. This is a good thing because fewer invasive tests mean fewer risks to the patient, including surgery complications and radiation exposure.”
“In these current health care economic times, people don’t want to pay for unneeded tests. With proper use I feel this simple blood test will help us all save money in the long run while helping doctors determine the best treatment path for each individual patient. It’s a win-win for all involved,” adds Dr. Waxler.
This simple blood test is scored on a scale of 1-40. Those with low scores, defined as ≤ 15, can be safely assessed as having symptoms not caused by CAD, whereas patients with higher scores have a higher likelihood of obstructive CAD. A low score means the patient may be spared invasive and potentially risky cardiac tests and procedures, while those with high scores may require more testing.
If you are concerned about the symptoms of obstructive CAD, talk with your doctor.
For more information about the blood test, visit coruscad.com.
- One in seven deaths among Americans is caused by CAD.
- A simple blood test called Corus CAD helps doctors identify patients who are at low risk so that unnecessary and potentially harmful cardiac tests can be avoided, as well as those at high risk so appropriate next steps can be taken.
- This simple blood test (Corus CAD) offers potential costs savings to the patient as well as to health insurance companies as it can help reduce unnecessary tests and procedures, which are often more costly.
 Voora D, Coles A, Lee KL, et al. An Age- and Sex-Specific Gene Expression Score is Associated With Revascularization and Coronary Artery Disease: Insights From the Prospective Multicenter Imaging Study for Evaluation of Chest Pain (PROMISE) Trial. Am Heart J. 2017;184:133-140.
 Mozaffarian D, Benjamin EJ, Go AS, et al. On Behalf of the American Heart Association Statistics Committee and Stroke Statistics Subcommittee. Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics – 2016 Update: A Report from the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2016;133(4):e38-e360.