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D. A Blood Test that Predicts an Increased Risk of Cardiovascular Events

Narrator: This is Science Today. A simple blood test that detects a hormone that goes up during cardiac stress has been found in a recent study to accurately predict the risk of cardiovascular events and death in patients with known cardiovascular disease. The test is for a protein called NT-proBNP, which is a marker in the blood for a hormone called BNP.

Whooley: We thought it's kind of a litmus test for the heart, telling us how well is the heart doing during that particular moment in time.

Narrator: Study leader Dr. Mary Whooley of the University of California, San Francisco , explains that this test picks up an element of risk that was not otherwise being detected.

Whooley: This is not a test that should be routinely used in patients who have heart disease and certainly not in patients who do not have known heart disease. It does predict increase in risk, but there's nothing we can do about that increase in risk other than giving the same advice that we still do to patients take your medicines, stop smoking, lose weigh, exercise, keep your cholesterol under control and take your blood pressure medicines.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.