Publish Date: 
Friday, December 18, 2015 - 09:45

Saliva test could replace blood test for heart failure

Research on a new non-invasive method of screening for the ‘silent killer’, heart failure, by testing saliva instead of blood being developed at QUT, has received a $75,000 Heart Foundation Vanguard Grant.

Associate Professor Chamindie Punyadeera from QUT’s Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation (IHBI) said the aim of the research project was to produce a test that was quicker and easier to administer.

“The beauty of saliva is that you don’t need trained medical staff to collect a sample. You can monitor your heart health in your own home, using non-invasive technology,” Professor Punyadeera said.

“I am investigating ways to test saliva samples for the presence of a protein called Galectin-3, a biomarker specific for heart failure and whether it can be used to predict complications or the need for hospitalisation.

“If the test finds elevated levels of Galectin-3 it could indicate the person needs medical attention.

“Using an e-health system, people with heart failure could be able to email the data from their saliva test to their GP who could advise them on medication levels, saving a trip to a heart specialist.”

Professor Punyadeera said heart failure was the inability of the heart to pump blood around the body.

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“At the moment, identifying patients who need hospitalisation is not adequate. We hope this test will be able to provide an accurate, quick and easy way for patients to know when they need hospital treatment.”