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Sudden-death heart condition could be monitored by cheek swab test

By April 16, 2024April 17th, 2024No Comments

A simple cheek swab test could help to monitor a sudden-death heart condition in a world-first development. Dr Angeliki Asimaki from St George’s University London, who developed the test, recently reached out to BIVDA to try to secure a partner company.

The test is able to detect whether patients with arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy (ACM), a rare genetic condition, are in a deadly inflammatory phase which raise the chances of sudden death. The test works by detecting cheek protein movement, which can cause inflammation in the heart leading to abnormal rhythms.

Test results are available within 48 hours and, if inflammation is detected, patients can visit hospital for check-ups and treatment. This type of personalised care would ensure that instead of prescribing precautionary medication to patients for life, with potentially immune-supressing side effects, patients are able to be tested a few times a year and only be treated when needed.

Currently, the test is being trialled on 100 children at Great Ormond Street Hospital as part of their regular check-ups. 18 adults with ACM are also undertaking the trial at the same hospital. Pregnant women with the condition will also participate in the study across several London hospitals.

As well as monitoring the condition, researchers are also working on a test to diagnose ACM.

Ben Kemp