WASHINGTON – Laboratory medicine experts are using a growing understanding of the molecular signatures of heart disease to develop more precise tests for the early diagnosis, monitoring, and targeted treatment of this condition. A special issue of Clinical Chemistry, the journal of AACC, titled “Cardiovascular Disease: Impact of Biomarkers, Proteomics, and Genomics,” highlights the groundbreaking medical tests that could advance patient care for this chronic disease and its consequences, which range from cardiac arrest to congestive heart failure. 

Despite a steady downward trend in cardiovascular deaths in the U.S. over the past 10 years, heart disease remains the number one killer of both men and women domestically and is the cause of 31% of all deaths globally. Many of these deaths could be prevented with the implementation of lifestyle changes and/or prophylactic therapies aimed at averting the onset of cardiovascular disease. This special issue of Clinical Chemistry features breaking research on a test that can identify healthy individuals at high risk of developing heart disease and mortality, and who could benefit most from these preventive strategies.   

Two studies published in this issue could also help to improve the prognosis of patients with a history of cardiovascular disease by enabling healthcare providers to monitor the progression of their condition with greater accuracy and to manage it with the most effective treatment. The first of these studies shows that a blood test for an indicator of systemic inflammation can identify heart disease patients who are at risk of death—even when mitigating factors such as elevated high-density lipoprotein are present—and who are in need of therapeutic intervention. The second study demonstrates that a blood test for high-sensitivity cardiac troponin I can identify heart disease patients who are at high risk of having another heart attack and could prevent this by taking the new drug vorapaxar.

Another challenge in the fight against cardiovascular disease is diagnosing heart failure in its early stages in order to accelerate treatment for these patients. This special issue of Clinical Chemistry highlights findings that a novel diagnostic lipid panel can detect heart failure before symptoms even manifest, and with much greater certainty than standard tests for this condition. Research in this issue on an early test for congestion in heart failure patients could also potentially reduce heart failure mortality by enabling patients to get the decongestive therapy they need faster.

“The bottom line […] is to provide tests that get the diagnosis right, to identify medical issues early, and to personalize therapy based on pathophysiology so that patients will enjoy improved outcomes,” wrote issue editors and cardiovascular disease experts Fred S. Apple, PhD; Louise Cullen, MD; G. Michael Felker, MD; Geoffrey Ginsburg, MD, PhD; and David Morrow, MD, in the preamble to the special issue. “We look forward to the next 10 years of technological advances that will continue to identify the right treatment for the right patient, and trust that readers will find the glimpse at that future embodied in this special issue both instructive and stimulating.”

For more about the findings in the special Cardiovascular Disease issue, follow us on Twitter at @Clin_Chem_AACC.


About AACC

Dedicated to achieving better health through laboratory medicine, AACC brings together more than 50,000 clinical laboratory professionals, physicians, research scientists, and business leaders from around the world focused on clinical chemistry, molecular diagnostics, mass spectrometry, translational medicine, lab management, and other areas of progressing laboratory science. Since 1948, AACC has worked to advance the common interests of the field, providing programs that advance scientific collaboration, knowledge, expertise, and innovation. For more information, visit www.aacc.org.

Clinical Chemistry is the leading international journal of clinical laboratory science, providing 2,000 pages per year of peer-reviewed papers that advance the science of the field. With an impact factor of 7.457, Clinical Chemistry covers everything from molecular diagnostics to laboratory management.