Researchers from Imperial College London and University College London have come up with an innovative test procedure that could anticipate adverse events of cardiovascular disease, a common complication in people with diabetes.
The new test detects high levels of IgG antibodies – molecules produced by the immune system – which the scientists believe is associated with a low likelihood of heart problems in patients.
Currently, clinicians use information such as age, sex, medical history, blood pressure and cholesterol levels to assess the risks for heart disease.
However, standard cholesterol tests that measure plasma cholesterol levels, for example, aren’t predictive of the final destination of cholesterol molecules and the presence of excess artery cholesterol, which is what predisposes us to atherosclerosis.
When cholesterol ends up inside the wall of an artery, especially the inside of a coronary artery, it leads to an inflammatory cascade which results in the obstruction of that artery.
IgG antibodies are markers of inflammation resulting from that immune response, so their blood count predicts with greater precision coronary events than high cholesterol or high blood pressure alone.
The five-year trial, conducted in association with British Heart Foundation (BHF), followed more than 1,700 people at risk of heart attacks.
The results showed that those with the highest number of antibodies had a 58 per cent lower risk of coronary heart disease as well as 38 per cent lower chance of suffering from a stroke or other serious adverse heart events in that time frame.
The research team suggests that measuring IgG could be a more simple and cheap way to accurately determine a person’s risk than studying the clinical endpoints of other common risk factors.

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