European Heart Journal recently highlighted Mayo Clinic's new blood test that may predict cardiovascular events in patients with or without coronary artery disease. The test measures blood concentrations of plasma ceramides, a class of lipids that are highly linked to cardiovascular disease processes. The test is believed to be sensitive enough that even individuals with normal levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) but still at risk may be identified.
The latest study, led by Jeff Meeusen, Ph.D., a clinical chemist and Co-Director of Cardiovascular Laboratory Medicine at Mayo Clinic, showed that individuals with the highest levels of blood ceramides were found to have a 3–4 times greater risk of having a cardiovascular event compared with those with the lowest ceramide score, regardless of their LDL cholesterol level or the presence of a coronary artery stenosis.
According to Dr Meeusen, "Our research suggests that evaluating ceramide levels in patients who are not at immediate risk for coronary artery disease events may help cardiologists decide who could benefit from proactive and preventive treatment, such as statins, or life- style changes to prevent a serious cardiac event down the road."