Coronary artery disease (CAD) is the most common type of heart disease. It is the leading cause of death in the United States in both men and women , and affects about 14 million in the US . Coronary artery disease is a condition in which plaque builds up inside the coronary arteries resulting in the arteries becoming hardened and narrowed . This can lead to chest pain (angina) or a heart attack .
Most heart attacks happen when a blood clot suddenly cuts off the hearts’ blood supply, causing permanent heart damage . Over time, CAD can also weaken the heart muscle and contribute to heart failure and arrhythmias. CAD is responsible for 70,000 deaths and 110,000 people have a heart attack in England every year . In addition approximately 2 million people suffer from angina in the UK .
Recently studies were undertaken to investigate the potential use of urinary protein analysis as a tool to detect and monitor disease, especially coronary artery disease . One such study led by Anna Dominiczak and colleagues analyzed samples from 88 CAD patients and 282 controls and found a 15 protein “signature” indicative of disease . The researchers identified several of the protein fragments as collagens, which make up arterial walls, therefore the use of urinary protein analysis looks promising as a non invasive means of detecting CAD. The researchers also observed that the protein signatures of CAD individuals became more normal after exercise, suggesting these biomarkers can be used to both help diagnose CAD and monitor the progress of treatment . In addition a separate study by Muehlen and colleagues determined that certain protein fragments can only be found in coronary artery disease patients, and these fragments are known to be present on the surface of atherosclerotic plaques . This study supports the findings made by Dominiczak et al and suggests the usefulness or urinalysis in detecting CAD.
Both studies suggest that measuring these proteins in urine can identify individuals at risk of developing CAD and help to better understand the progression of the disease. Lastly as urinalysis is non invasive and due to the relative ease of obtaining samples this could prove to be a reliable way to diagnose coronary artery disease in the future.
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