Researchers at the University of Worcester have discovered a new method to identify patients at risk of second heart attacks.

This is done by sampling their blood.

The test also helps predict the type of heart attack a patient might have and the area of the heart affected.

Dr Steven Coles, senior lecturer in Biochemistry from the University of Worcester, was the supervisor for the study.

He said: "The study used blood samples from people who were presenting at hospital with an Acute Coronary Syndrome event.

"We studied these samples and followed up with them after six months and then again after 12 months.

“We looked at the concentration of particular biomarkers in their blood and categorised them into low, medium or high for that biomarker.

"Half of the group who had higher levels of it were readmitted to hospital with a secondary heart attack in the year following their initial one, but for the patients who were in the ‘low’ group for the biomarker, not a single one was readmitted.”

The study looked at 80 acute coronary syndrome patients recruited over a few years and involved a control population.

The study began in 2018 and was carried out in collaboration with the Cardiology Department at the Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust.

Following peer review, it has been accepted by the International Journal of Cardiology.

The research team focused on detecting certain biomarkers present in the blood samples of patients who had been admitted to the hospital after a Non-ST segment elevation myocardial infarction heart attack.

The results revealed that patients with greater concentrations of a particular biomarker in their blood samples were at a higher risk of having a second heart attack in the following 12 months.

Dr Coles said: “For the patients, this highlights the risk to them, and you can provide improved follow-up care.

"This research doesn’t replace the need for things like ECGs but it does give an insight which can improve ongoing care for patients.”

The study also found that the biomarker was useful in determining which kind of heart attack the patient was experiencing.

Dr Coles added: “Our biomarker allows for better distinction between heart attack types, even the area of the heart which has been affected.

“We can predict in 70 percent of heart attacks what kind of heart attack the patient is having, and this is accurate in all groups, for men and women and across the age ranges.”