Biomarker can save lives by ID ’ing high blood pressure patients at risk of heart failure.

The ST2 biomarker developed by Critical Diagnostics as an indicator of a heart condition, can also help indicate different types of hypertension.

A biomarker is a measured characteristic, which may be used as an indicator of some biological state or condition. ST2 is a soluble protein secreted by the heart in response to disease or injury. It reveals ventricular remodeling and cardiac fibrosis associated with heart failure. Unlike several cardiac biomarkers, ST2 levels change quickly in response to changes in the patient’s condition ― thus helping physicians make informed decisions on an appropriate course of action to take and, if needed, to quickly adjust treatment.

Critical Diagnostics announced in a paper titled, “The Effect of Left Ventricle Remodelling on Soluble ST2 in A Cohort of Hypertensive Subjects,” published in Journal of Human Hypertension, that ST2 not only distinguishes between the different types of hypertensive heart disease, but also between patients with diastolic dysfunction from systolic dysfunction ― which can aid in treatment decisions.

The authors noted that hypertension is a major health problem, affecting 67 million Americans, or one in every three adults. Moreover, according to the Centers for Disease Control, people with high blood pressure are four times more likely to die from stroke and three times more likely to die from heart disease than people with normal blood pressure. They said their findings are important, because “subjects with longstanding or severe hypertension have an increased risk of developing left ventricular hypertrophy and subsequently heart failure.”

Although electrocardiology (ECG) and echocardiography are useful in differentiating the various spectrum of hypertensive heart disease, they have their limitations. The findings from this work show ST2 can assist in differentiating the three prognostic patterns of uncomplicated hypertension from two of its major cardiac complications and may also become useful in the choice of specific antihypertensive agents.

The study, which involved just over 200 subjects with a diagnosis of hypertension and hypertensive heart failure, also found an association between ST2 and left ventricular ejection fraction. The explained that since LV ejection is a strong prognostic factor in heart failure, their data suggests that “plasma ST2 could be a good prognostic marker of heart failure in hypertensive subjects.” This can help health care professionals refine the discrimination within hypertensive patients and those in early stages of heart failure and then treat them accordingly, thereby saving lives.

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