When every second counts: Highly sensitive blood test allows Aspirus Upper Peninsula hospitals to diagnose heart attacks fast

Every 40 seconds someone in the United States has a heart attack. Also known as an acute myocardial infarction (AMI), a heart attack occurs when the blood supply to an area of the heart is interrupted. Aspirus Health’s Upper Peninsula hospitals – Aspirus Ironwood, Iron River, Ontonagon and Keweenaw – are the first and only hospitals in the Western Upper Peninsula to offer the most sensitive blood test available to diagnose heart attacks when seconds count.


This blood test, called a high-sensitivity troponin test, aids Aspirus clinicians in rapidly ruling out an acute myocardial infarction (AMI). It is the first highly sensitive troponin test available in the United States. The test is already used successfully throughout Europe, Canada and other parts of the world.


“The hs-troponin test is the most sensitive test developed so far to diagnosis a heart attack,” said Christina Asiala, Aspirus Director of Regional Lab Services. “The final diagnosis can be accurately made in as little as one hour.”


Patients who present with chest pain and other symptoms that suggest an AMI require a fast and accurate diagnosis. The early troponin release allows Aspirus to make confident clinical decisions for patients. Early treatment for a heart attack can increase a person’s odds of survival as well as prevent or lessen damage to the heart.


“My job as an emergency room physician is to make decisions for patients who present with chest pain or symptoms of a heart attack,” said Bryan Judge, MD Aspirus Emergency Medicine Physician, and Emergency Trauma Medical Director. “The ability to do this safely and with the most accurate test allows Aspirus to be the leader in heart care for the region.”


“This is exciting technology that allows Aspirus Health to continue to offer the best standard of care to our patients,” Asiala said.


Aspirus Heart Care offers convenient access to Aspirus Heart and Vascular cardiologists and is supported by on-site diagnostic and comprehensive cardiac rehabilitation services. For more information on cardiology services, visit aspirus.org/cardiology.