A new research study performed at the University of Sheffield in the UK has led to the discovery of a new marker that could aid in the identification of patients who are at high-risk of cardiovascular disease after a heart attack.

Researchers expect that the new blood test will help in the detection of new targets to decrease the risk and result in effective treatments.

For their study, the team examined more than 4,300 blood plasma samples that were obtained when acute coronary syndrome patients were discharged from hospital. The samples were analysed for maximum clot density and the time taken for the clot to break down (clot lysis time).

Based on the findings, the researchers concluded that longer clot lysis time indicates a 40% increased risk of recurrent myocardial infarction or death due to cardiovascular disease.

The results further indicated that therapies that target fibrin clot lysis time could improve prognosis in acute coronary syndrome patients.

“Our findings provide exciting clues as to why some patients are at higher risk after heart attack and how we might address this with new treatments in the future.”

University of Sheffield Infection, Immunity and Cardiovascular Disease department professor Rob Storey said: “We have made huge strides over the last two decades in improving prognosis following heart attacks, but there is still plenty of room for further improvement.

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“Our findings provide exciting clues as to why some patients are at higher risk after heart attack and how we might address this with new treatments in the future.”

Storey added that the research team plans to investigate possible options for tailoring treatment based on a person’s risk after a heart attack.

They also intend to evaluate the capability of clot lysis time-targeting drugs to minimise this risk.