The test, which is relatively inexpensive, can diagnose potentially fatal heart conditions, especially in the more severe form, myocarditis.
According to the UK charity Myocarditis, every week a young man dies suddenly from undiagnosed myocarditis. The condition can affect anyone of any age and is usually linked to a recent viral infection.
The research is based on monitoring a specific type of white blood cell that expresses a protein in the blood called (cMet), which is a clear indicator that can be used to diagnose a case of myocarditis.
According to the British newspaper “The Sun”, Federica Marelli Berg, professor of cardiovascular immunology at Barts Hospital, said: “Early intervention is crucial when treating myocarditis, as in some cases it can take only weeks between the onset of symptoms and the development of heart failure.” .
“However, without a diagnosis, doctors cannot provide their patients with appropriate treatment,” she explained.
“We believe this test for myocarditis could be a simple addition to the routine blood tests required in doctors’ surgeries,” she added.
“While we still need to confirm these results in a larger study, we hope it won’t be long until this blood test is used regularly,” Berg said.
Myocarditis is a difficult-to-diagnose condition that is often confused with other symptoms and conditions.
Tests on mice showed that controlling cMet with the drug reduced the severity of myocarditis.
Nilesh Samani, medical director at the British Heart Foundation, said: “Myocarditis is a difficult condition to diagnose and unfortunately some patients will suffer irreversible damage to their hearts because there are not enough diagnostic tests.”
He added: “This blood test could revolutionize the way we diagnose myocarditis, allowing doctors to intervene at an early stage to provide treatment and support.”