Low-cost device could diagnose heart attacks in minutes


New York, Oct 3 : A team of researchers has developed a sensor that could diagnose a heart attack in less than 30 minutes. The study showed that, by targeting three distinct types of microRNA or miRNA, the new sensor can distinguish between an acute heart attack and a reperfusion -- the restoration of blood flow, or reperfusion injury and requires less blood than traditional diagnostic methods to do so. "The technology developed for this sensor showcases the advantage of using miRNA compared to protein-based biomarkers, the traditional diagnostic target," said Hsueh-Chia Chang from the University of Notre Dame. "Additionally, the portability and cost efficiency of this device demonstrates the potential for it to improve how heart attacks and related issues are diagnosed in clinical settings and in developing countries," Chang added. A patent application has been filed for the sensor and the researchers are working with Notre Dame's IDEA Center to potentially establish a start-up company that would manufacture the device. According to the study, published in the journal Lab on a Chip, currently, it takes health care professionals hours to diagnose a heart attack. Initial results from an echocardiogram can quickly show indications of heart disease, but to confirm a patient is having a heart attack, a blood sample and analysis are required. Those results can take up to eight hours. "The current methods used to diagnose a heart attack are not only time-intensive, but they also have to be applied within a certain window of time to get accurate results," said lead author Pinar Zorlutuna from the varsity. /IANS


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