– A New Zealand hospital has become the first in the world to use a single blood test to diagnose heart attacks in minutes instead of hours.
Saving the healthcare system millions of dollars and treating patients faster, the highly accurate rapid troponin blood test is being rolled out to New Zealand hospitals, Health Minister Andrew Little said on Wednesday.
“This research, led by emergency physicians at Christchurch Hospital, is groundbreaking,” said Little, adding that “using a new high-precision blood test at the bedside, doctors can determine in eight minutes whether a person who comes to the emergency department with chest pain is having a heart attack.
“Clearly this is good for patients, those who can go home instead of spending hours in the hospital worrying they’re having heart attacks, and those who are actually having heart attacks and get the treatment they need sooner,” Little said. .
It’s also good for the healthcare system because sending people home within an hour of arrival takes the pressure off the hospital and frees up an emergency department bed for someone else, he said.
The research team, led by Martin Than, has been working for a decade to find better ways to diagnose heart attacks. His methods won a prestigious global healthcare award in 2020.
His methods have reduced the average stay for heart patients in emergency departments by three hours and saved the health system between NZ$50 million and NZ$70 million, Than said.
The project received NZ$1.15 million from the New Zealand government’s Health Research Council in 2019, but the work was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Little said.
Starting in February, 10 more New Zealand hospitals will also start using it. (1 New Zealand dollar equals 0.62 US dollars) ■