A Baylor Research Institute study has identified a lipid common in heart disease patients that may lead doctors to identifying the country’s most fatal condition earlier than ever before.
The findings were published in the Journal of the American Heart Association. Researchers discovered that patients with a higher level of the urinary lipid globotriaosylceramide, known as Gb3, were more likely to develop heart disease, which kills more Americans each year than any other.
“The presence of elevated urinary Gb3, along with other lipids, indicated for the first time that heart disease is linked to lipid abnormalities in organs outside of the heart in patients with common forms of heart disease,” reads a release announcing the findings.
The study’s initial focus was to find a common characteristic in patients who develop the rare genetic condition Fabry disease, which causes heart complications.
“To our surprise, we noticed after a few months that some heart disease patients who did not have Fabry disease did have elevated Gb3 in the urine,” said Dr. Raphael Schiffmann, who led the study. “Simultaneously, we also found that some of those patients had died in the short interval that had passed since we had last seen them for this screening study.”
The presence of Gb3 and other lipids will be studied further to confirm them as indicators of fatal heart disease.