News Release

March 25, 2008

Contact: Chris DeFrancesco, 860-679-3914

A Glimpse of the Heart with a Simple Blood Test

UConn Researchers Developing New Way to Detect Failing Heart

FARMINGTON, CONN. – Cardiologists at the University of Connecticut Health Center have identified a protein fragment that may be a new indicator of congestive heart failure.

Evidence from a continuing clinical research study at the Health Center suggests a failing human heart releases this protein fragment, or peptide, into the bloodstream, enabling a simple blood test to reveal information about the condition of a patient’s heart.

“That’s the beauty of the blood test: it’s simple and it’s quick and it’s non-invasive,” says Bruce T. Liang, M.D., director of the Pat and Jim Calhoun Cardiology Center at UConn. “This is like any other lab test that we do, except unlike any other lab test that we do, this one gives us a window on the viability of the heart.”

Liang is the lead investigator of the study, which is published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. He is presenting his research at the American College of Cardiology’s annual scientific session in Chicago Sunday, March 30.

“It’s a novel method that we’ve developed. We’re the first and only ones doing this,” Liang says. “This test appears to be helpful in detecting all degrees and all forms of heart failure, which gives it broad potential clinical utility.”

A marker for acute heart failure would be both a diagnostic and prognostic tool for physicians. It also may be potentially helpful to patients, even in the early research phase, Liang says, because it can yield additional information about a heart’s health. Scientific proof of this would open the door to an approved clinical testing method that can influence therapy and clinical decision making.

Collaborators on the research include David Hager, M.D., Kim Dodge, Ph.D., Jayne Schumacher, R.N., and Mary Beth Barry, A.P.R.N.

Note: Abstract of Dr. Liang’s presentation. The article published in the March 11 supplement to the Journal of the American College of Cardiology is available online to subscribers.

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