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Press release

New test at Centra emergency departments reduces detection time for heart attacks

Published on Tuesday February 21, 2023

Centra has implemented a new type of testing across its system that allows healthcare providers to expediently identify whether a patient has experienced a heart attack.

Troponin is an enzyme that is released into the blood when cardiac tissue is stressed or damaged. The amount of Troponin present can indicate whether a heart attack (myocardial infarction) has occurred. High-Sensitivity Troponin Assays improve detection of elevations of Troponin. While normal Troponin levels can vary for biologic males and females, the highly sensitized nature of this test has enabled an improvement in correct heart attack diagnoses for female patients.

Troponin testing is ordered when it is suspected that the patient has experienced a heart attack because they have exhibited symptoms such as chest pain, feeling light-headed or weak and shortness of breath. The use of this new assay benefits patients because it allows a patient’s healthcare team to more quickly determine whether a heart attack has occurred. 

With conventional Troponin, the patient’s blood would be drawn upon arrival and then drawn again three to six hours later. The two tests would be compared and the level of Troponin would be evaluated to determine if it was critically high. In contrast, the new, High-Sensitivity Troponin test shortens the wait time between blood draws to one hour. This accelerates the evaluation process and allows healthcare teams to determine whether Troponin levels are critically high and further tests need to be performed. The reduction in time between tests also means that the patient spends less time in the Emergency Department (ED) and the need to stay at the hospital overnight for observation is usually eliminated.

Centra’s Vice President of Emergency Services, James Bryant, shared, “On the first day of using High-Sensitivity Troponin at Centra Lynchburg General Hospital (LGH) we were able to send four patients home instead of needing them to stay for extended observation. We are currently looking at data to determine the total impact to our patients and community since this test has been implemented.”

Utilization of High-Sensitivity Troponin testing is an example of how Centra is working to provide Performance Excellence in its clinical settings through the continuous review, adaptation and improvement of its processes, and ultimately, a demonstration of Centra’s commitment to improving the health and quality of life for the communities it serves.