SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A new life-saving test to catch heart attacks is now being used by UC Davis emergency room doctors.
The test was rolled out about a month ago and has already reduced the number of patients in the ER.
“I didn’t know where I was, what I was doing, I was in incredible pain,” said Lindsay Dyer, a heart attack survivor.
Lindsay was jogging in West Sacramento on her lunch break in October of 2016 when she suddenly collapsed.
She woke up in the ER at the UC Davis Medical Center and found out she had a congenital heart defect.
Lindsay says she had experienced chest pain before but didn’t know what it was.
“My heart was indeed already damaged,” Lindsay said.
Just last month, the UC Davis Medical Center rolled out a new “cardiac troponin” test, to help emergency room doctors quickly identify heart attack patients.
“This new test shaves hours off the time required to diagnose a heart attack,” said ER Dr. Bryn Mumma.
Mumma and Dr. Nam Tran and spent five years working to bring the new test to the med center.
“If a patient is having a heart attack, we want to know as soon as possible, to get them the right treatment,” Mumma added.
Before that, emergency room doctors relied on another troponin test, which often kept patients waiting in the ER for up to six hours.
Now, patients suffering from chest pain can be diagnosed with a heart attack in less than ten minutes.
“These antibodies have an element on them which makes them glow, so when a patient comes in with a heart attack these antibodies will bind to it and detect that glowing signal,” said Dr. Tran, who is an Associate Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine.
The test could have uncovered Lindsay’s congenital heart defect and prevented a heart attack when she began to experience chest pains.
Lindsay now has a tattoo on her foot, from that traumatic day two years ago.
“It’s a symbol of the actual EKG strip,” she said.
A heart attack survivor, Lindsay says she wants to remind herself of just how far she’s come since she was knocked off her feet.
She hopes the new test will inspire others to get their hearts checked out when they experience pain before they end up in her shoes.
“It’s not happening today, I’m not going to die today,” Lindsay said.
The UC Davis Med Center evaluates about 80 patients every day for heart attacks.