The Way to a Woman’s Heart…

Researchers have announced a breakthrough in a heart disease that is both difficult to diagnose and difficult to treat.

The condition is called preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) or diastolic heart failure.  “Ejection fraction” refers to the amount of blood that your heart pumps out.  With HFpEF, the heart doesn’t relax correctly between beats, so it doesn’t take in enough blood to re-pump out.  Symptoms can include increased fatigue.

Unfortunately, HFpEF is hard to diagnose, because it doesn’t show up on an ultrasound or an X-ray.

But researchers at the National University of Singapore’s Heart Centre recently made a discovery.  Thymosin beta-4 is a protein that helps protect the heart from injury.  A study of 657 men and women found that TB4 is elevated in women with HFpEF.  (Women are twice as likely as men to develop HFpEF.)

And TB4 is detectable in blood.  This means that in the future, a simple blood test could be enough to detect HFpEF in women.  TB4 could also be used as a biomarker to predict if a patient is responding to treatment.  (There is currently no cure for HFpEF.  Doctors can only treat the symptoms.)

The researchers used an Agilent Infinity II LC system and Triple-Quadrupole MS system for TB4 quantification.

Agilent has a strategic collaboration with the National University of Singapore to help researchers develop more effective medicine to treat cardiovascular disease.

Today’s blog post topic was suggested by Agilent employee Andrea Zenker.  Thanks Andrea!

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