A simple blood test which predicts whether a patient with chest pain will go on to have a heart attack could save the NHS millions and prevent hundreds of thousands of people being admitted to hospital. Currently around one million people each year are taken to emergency departments suffering with stabbing pains near their heart, but the majority are not serious. Now scientists at the University of Edinburgh have discovered that the level of a protein in the blood can indicate whether a patient will suffer a life threatening heart attack.

They claim that around 400,000 people could be sent home immediately just be checking for troponin in the heart, saving millions of pounds. Troponin at low levels suggests that a heart attack is unlikely. “Over the last two decades the number of hospital admissions due to chest pain has tripled but the overwhelming majority of these patients do not have a heart attack,” said lead author Dr Anoop Shah from the University of Edinburgh. CONTINUE