Blood test revolutionizes diagnosis of myocarditis

The researchers said the test would help identify people with myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle that can often be fatal, and provide early, life-saving treatment.

The test is based on research published in the journal Circulation, which showed that T cells, which are a certain type of white blood cell, express a molecule called cMet in the blood, which is an indicator of myocarditis, according to the Independent. .

Professor Federica Marelli-Berg, British Heart Foundation Professor of Cardiovascular Immunology at Barts and Queen Mary University of London (QMUL), said: “Early intervention is crucial in the treatment of myocarditis because in some cases it may only be a few weeks between the onset of symptoms and the development of heart failure. But without a diagnosis, doctors cannot offer patients the right treatment.”

“We believe this myocarditis test could be a simple addition to routine blood tests ordered in doctors’ offices. When analyzed in combination with symptoms, the results could allow family physicians to easily determine whether their patients have myocarditis. Although we have yet to confirm these results in a larger study, we hope that it will not be long before this blood test is used regularly.”

Myocarditis usually occurs as a result of a viral infection

While some people have no symptoms, in others it can cause chest pain, palpitations, and difficulty breathing.

“This blood test could revolutionize the way we diagnose myocarditis, allowing doctors to intervene much earlier to provide treatment and support.said Professor Sir Nilesh Samani.

Myocarditis is a difficult condition to diagnose because the symptoms are often confused with other conditions.

It is estimated that one young person dies suddenly every week in the UK from previously undiagnosed myocarditis.

The incidence of myocarditis is approximately 1.5 million cases per year worldwide.

The current gold standard for diagnosis is a heart biopsy, which is invasive and risky and can sometimes still miss signs of disease.

In the study, funded by the British Heart Foundation, researchers compared blood samples from several groups of patients, including 34 patients diagnosed with myocarditis.

The results showed that patients with myocarditis had significantly higher levels of T cells with cMet on their surface compared to the other groups, the researchers said.

The team said their work adds to the evidence that myocarditis is an autoimmune disease.

Tests in mice showed that blocking cMet with a widely available drug reduced the severity of their myocarditis, which the researchers also want to investigate further.

Professor Sir Nilesh Samani, Medical Director of the British Heart Foundation, said: “Myocarditis is a notoriously difficult disease to diagnose and unfortunately some patients will suffer irreversible heart damage due to the lack of accessible diagnostic tests. This blood test could revolutionize the way we diagnose myocarditis, allowing doctors to intervene at a much earlier stage to provide treatment and support. It would also reduce the need for the risky and invasive tests currently used, saving time and money for the NHS and freeing up vital resources.”

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