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D. New Findings May Provide More Insight into the Heart's Pathophysiology

Narrator: This is Science Today. Almost every patient admitted to the emergency room with chest pain or shortness of breath gets a BNP test. This blood test measures a cardiac hormone called BNP that becomes elevated when the heart is under stress. Dr. Mary Whooley, of the University of California, San Francisco has found that another blood test for a marker of BNP, called NT-proBNP, accurately predicts the risk of cardiac events and death in patients with cardiovascular disease.

Whooley: I personally do not think this test currently has any commercial value in terms of predicting who is at risk not because the test doesn't predict who is at risk, but because we don't have anything that we can do about that. Any patient with known coronary heart disease should already be on beta blockers and statins and ACE inhibitors and aspirin.

Narrator: But this test does provide more insight into the pathophysiology of the heart.

Whooley: This hormone is being secreted when the heart's under stress and so maybe that will help us form treatments that prevent that stress from happening.

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