Recently the FDA has cleared a new test that can predict relatively accurately if someone is prone to coronary heart disease (CHD). This test is found to be most accurate in women.
The test works by measuring the activity of Lp-PLA2 (lipoprotein-associated phospholipase A2) – an enzyme that is an indicator of vascular inflammation – in a blood sample. This inflammation can be a sign of plaque accumulation in the arteries, and this build-up of plaque can clog the arteries.
Fast facts about CHD
- CHD kills around 375,000 Americans each year
- Risk factors for CHD include high blood pressure, smoking, high cholesterol and high blood glucose
- Women over the age of 55 and men over the age of 45 are most at risk of CHD.
- Coronary artery disease is more common in African American women.
This study was performed by was administering the test on 4,598 participants aged 45-92 years of age, who had no history of CHD. Of these participants, 58.3% were women and 41.5% were black. The study researchers followed the participants for an average of 5.3 years, during which time they recorded the occurrence of CHD events among each individual.
It is hopeful that the test will reduce CHD-related mortality and morbidity in women. Heart disease is responsible for 1 in 4 female deaths in the US.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 64% of women who die from CHD have no previous symptoms of the condition. The FDA hope the PLAC Test for Lp-PLA2 will aid early detection of CHD in this population and hopefully save many lives.