Technology Helps Predict Heart Attacks

“I had no sign of chest pain. No chest pain; nothing absolutely. But Ray Behforooz says he did get that warning thanks to a new blood test. “I got the result back. I was shocked, the result is high.”

According to his cardiologist, Dr. Farzan Rajput, the test predicted Ray had an almost 50-percent chance of having a heart attack in the next five years.

The test is called PULS, short for Protein Unstable Lesion Signature.

“We’d like to be able to identify those people who get a clean bill of health, they walk out the door, and they drop dead and have a heart attack and everybody scratches their head and says why did that happen?” explained Dr. Douglas Harrington, CEO of Global Discovery Biosciences.

Harrington says the PULS test measures traces of proteins that leak out of soft fatty plaques lurking inside blood vessel walls like a pimple ready to burst.

“I use the metaphor of the fingerprint seven proteins, combine with age, sex, whether you’re diabetic, or a family history, and then puts it all together like a fingerprint would.”

That fingerprint can then guide doctors in how they treat patients.

“This particular test allows us to identify people at an extremely early stage. They have plenty of time to correct it,” he said.

Harrington says the PULS test, recommended for people over 40 who have intermediate cardiac risk, is often covered by insurance and costs about $200.

Future plans include the development of a test that can be done in the doctor’s office, and the possible addition of two more proteins, to the mix.