Dr. John T. McDevitt, a biochemist at the University of Texas at Austin, along with colleagues, has developed a saliva test that can determine whether a person has had a heart attack. This test can be administered anywhere, even in an ambulance on the way to the hospital, lessening the need to begin tests at a later time, and allowing cardiac care to begin much earlier.
It is the protein in the saliva that can determine a heart attack and once the saliva is placed in a lab card, it takes 15 minutes for analysis.
In an interview with Reuter's, Dr McDevitt said "... many heart attack patients, especially women, experience nonspecific symptoms, or have normal readings on an EKG, making diagnosis difficult. Therefore, using the saliva test in conjunction with the EKG could “aid in rapidly diagnosing heart attacks that are silent on EKG.”
Researchers have determined the test to be similar in accuracy as traditional blood tests.
Saliva testing is currently used to detect HIV, drugs, alcohol, ovulation and nicotine, amongst others. Scientists hope further research will produce saliva tests for breast cancer, Alzheimer's Disease and many other health concerns.
The saliva tests should be standard within 3 years.
For more on this story, see http://www.reuters.com/article/healthNews/idUSCOL24428420080422