UNDATED (WJRT) -
(04/28/14) - An accidental discovery could end up preventing millions of heart attacks - and save a lot of lives.
Heart disease is the number one killer of americans. One of the biggest challenges doctors face is identifying patients before a heart attack happens. Now - researchers have found a new marker that may one day allow them to do just that.
Every year, more than 700,000 Americans have a heart attack. 600,000 die of heart disease.
Now, researchers at Baylor Research Institute have uncovered a biomarker that may help them spot the disease sooner - and they did it by pure accident.
While attempting to identify patients with a rare condition known as Fabry Disease, the investigators found the marker they were studying - GB3 - was more common in people with heart disease.
Because it's found in the urine, it could one day be a simple way to test for patients who are at risk of heart disease.
Catherine Traweek participated in the study. She didn't have heart disease, but she found she was a carrier for Fabry. Now, the mom of two can pass the knowledge onto her kids.
The investigators say they plan on studying the GB3 biomarker more to see if it will be a more accurate predictor than current methods - like stress tests.