Coronary artery disease is the leading cause of death worldwide. While there have been great strides in preventing it, the hardest part has been figuring out who is at high risk, especially since men and women often have different symptoms. Now, a new gender-specific blood test is helping answer that.
Whether challenging herself to a game of ping pong or taking her dog out for a walk, Mandy Welsheimer tries to stay active, especially since she has a family history of heart disease.
"Both my grandfathers had coronary artery disease. One died of a heart attack when he was 56, and the other one ended up with a pacemaker," said Welsheimer.
When she began to have chest pain, she took a first of its kind blood test to determine her risk.
"This test actually looks at what's going on right now at the molecular level in your particular body and then can tell us what your chance of having a problem is right now," said Dr. Alan Grossman, a cardiologist.
The Corus CAD Test works by measuring the activity of 23 genes in your blood that change when there's a blockage in the arteries. The test comes up with a score indicating your likelihood of a blockage and is the first to be sex-specific.
"It certainly is a huge relief for a lot of patients," said Grossman.
Welsheimer's score came back low.
“Which puts my mind at ease,” she said.
Grossman says the new test can help doctors decide if invasive approaches are necessary for patients. The test is currently covered under Medicare.