HealthWatch:Predicting Bad Hearts

Published 04/20 2014 11:44PM

Updated 04/24 2014 06:50PM

DALLAS (Ivanhoe Newswire) - Every year, more than 700,000 Americans have a heart attack. And 600,000 die of heart disease.

"Fully half of the people that are going to die in America are going to die of cardiovascular disease," Jeffrey M. Schussler, MD, Cardiologist at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, told Ivanhoe.

Now, researchers at Baylor Research Institute at Dallas have uncovered a biomarker that may help them spot the disease sooner; and they did it by pure accident.

"That's what made it really exciting for us because it was a totally unexpected finding," Caren Swift, RN, Research Nurse at Baylor Research Institute, told Ivanhoe.

While attempting to identify patients with a rare condition known as fabry disease, the investigators found the marker they were studying, GB3, was more common in people with heart disease.

"The higher the level of GB3 in the urine, the higher the risk of death," Raphael Schiffmann, MD, Institute for Metabolic Diseases at Baylor Research Institute, told Ivanhoe.

Because it's found in the urine, it could one day be a simple way to test for patients who are at risk of heart disease.

Catherine Traweek participated in the study. She didn't have heart disease, but she found she was a carrier for fabry.

"The more you know, the better off you are as far as your health is concerned," Traweek told Ivanhoe.

The investigators say they plan on studying the GB3 biomarker more to see if it will be a more accurate predictor than current methods, like stress tests.

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