Novel blood test predicts CV events in CAD patients

By Liz Meszaros, MDLinx
Published August 12, 2016

Key Takeaways

Researchers at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, have launched a new blood test, the first in the US capable of assessing the future risk of adverse cardiovascular (CV) events in patients with progressing coronary artery disease (CAD) via the measurements of plasma ceramides—waxy, lipid molecules that have been associated with cardiovascular disease.  

Designed to be used in conjunction with clinical evaluation and patient risk assessment, the new test is predicted to be helpful in CAD patients who do not improve with treatment, and in younger patients with premature CAD.

“This test is for patients with highly specialized cases, for example, patients with progressing coronary artery disease — despite treatment and control of their risk factors, or for younger individuals with premature CAD,” said Jeff Meeusen, PhD, clinical chemist and co-director of Cardiovascular Laboratory Medicine at the Mayo Clinic.

In addition, the test may also be useful in patients who are at intermediate risk according to the risk calculator from the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association, and may help guide treatment.

“Plasma ceramides are promising biomarkers for the prediction of adverse CV events in either primary and/or secondary prevention. The studies to date suggest that the signals observed presage events within the next five-year period,” says Allan Jaffe, MD, cardiologist; and chair, Division of Clinical Core Laboratory Services, with joint appointments in the Department of Cardiovascular Diseases and the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, Mayo Clinic.

“Risk conferred by plasma ceramides appears to be independent of other established and novel biomarkers, and there are preliminary indications that high ceramide concentrations can be modified by common lipid-lowering therapies,” Dr. Jaffe concluded.

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