Abbott ($ABT) gained a crucial CE marking for a new diagnostic designed to help doctors determine if a patient is having a heart attack.
The blood test, dubbed Architect STAT, tests for the biomarker troponin--a key indicator that a heart attack is either happening or likely to happen. This test is meant to improve the standard of care because it can detect super low levels of the protein at greater sensitivity--and then doctors can make the heart attack call within two to four hours.
Time is of the essence with a heart attack, because current troponin tests take between 6 to 12 hours to complete--a time during which heart muscle cells can suffer irreparable damage. The earlier a heart attack can be treated, the more surgeons can protect the heart muscle from long-term harm. Additionally, Abbott says the test can ascertain whether a patient will have a heart attack within the next one to three months.
Today's Abbott is a streamlined affair. As of Jan. 1, the company now focuses on medical devices, diagnostics, nutritional products and generics, while spin-out AbbVie ($ABBV) fields Abbott's old brand-name drug business. Abbott has focused on expanding both its Architect and Prism test platforms, and this latest CE mark is a reflection of that strategy as the company revs up another test for its Architect analyzers, and pursues a massive launch of new molecular diagnostic products.
And for heart attacks, at least, Abbott is onto something with its focus on troponin as a heart attack biomarker. Research published in the Archives of International Medicine last summer noted that a high-sensitivity cardiac troponin test helped identify or rule out a heart attack in the first hour with more than 75% of patients in the emergency room.
- read the release
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Troponin could rule heart attacks in (or out) in an hour