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New blood test could prevent premature death from heart attacks and stroke

National Institutes of Health
A quick genetic test could show whether a patient is at risk for deadly inflammation in the cardiovascular system

You won’t find test tubes or chemicals at Ampel Biosolutions. Instead, the company uses computers to study huge amounts of medical information – to identify genes responsible for auto-immune, kidney, skin, neurologic and infectious diseases. Now, the firm says it’s got a blood test for cardiovascular events at an early age.

“It identifies those at risk for early heart attacks and strokes that are independent of the traditional factors such as smoking, high fat diet and sedentary lifestyle,” says Ampel’s President, Amrie Grammer.

She predicts the test will be especially valuable for women with lupus who can suffer sudden and deadly auto-immune attacks.

“I go home, I have dinner. All of a sudden I have a life-threatening flare. I’m having trouble breathing. My heart is not beating right. I’m rushed to the emergency room. I’m in the ICU with an increased risk of death, because all of a sudden my body is making antibodies that are attacking me," she explains.

One third of lupus deaths are linked to heart attacks and strokes. Grammer hopes the new test will be on the market in the next three years and could become a routine part of an annual physical exam.

Sandy Hausman is Radio IQ's Charlottesville Bureau Chief