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Updated on June 17, 2013


My brother in law has heart problems. He had a first heart attack at 39 and has had others since. He now has fitted inside his skin ,a deibrilator to help kick in if his over large heart fails. It is a decent solution or a man now 60 years of age but had his condition been diagnosed well before he had his first attack, then his life could have been made even better.

Heart problem diagnosis currently relies on ultrasound equipment which is large and bulky and of value only when the results it produces are translated by trained technical staff. As a result, they are relatively expensive. Now, however, a new and simpler 15 minute test device is set to be available to GP"s in the UK by 2014. This will revolutionise heart testing and reduce both costs and waiting times or tests substantially. GP"s will have the opportunity within their own surgeries, to give the test to any patient they may consider is displaying, or likely to display, heart problem symptoms.

Thus, patients may well be able to be diagnosed with a heart problem years before it advertises itself via symptoms . This could enable treatment to be commenced as preventative treatment rather than as an effort to repair existing damage. As such, the benefits available are huge.


The new system called ANGLO-DEFENDER , is said to detect arteries already furred or showing early signs of furring by testing in the upper arm, the brachial artery. The test device has been likened to the arm band swimming aids used to help those learning to swim. As such it is like the old blood pressure tests featuring a cuff that is placed bound the upper arm and then inflated to squeeze the arm there prior to deflation.

In the test, the healthy blood vessels rapidly reopen allowing the blood to flow easily but those that are furred take longer and as a result the blood flow is restricted. The ANGLO-DEFENDER can also measure the energy wave of each heart contraction and the speed of the energy wave equates to the stiffness or flexibility of the arteries and thus gives an accurate assessment of blood flow The brachial artery is chosen as it is a good signaler of damage and thus may indicate that other arteries supplying the heart may also have problems.

The test therefore is a good indicator of hardening of the arteries which is caused by fats, and things like cholesterol etc being formed as deposits on the arterial wall {artherosclerosis}. This furring or hardening often leads to heart disease. ANGLO-DEFENDER can detect such condition prior to it causing damage to the heart. By so doing it lessens the risks of blood clots forming, a major cause of heart problems as the clots restrict blood flow which can then lead to a stroke or further heart disease.

Tests have confirmed the efectiveness of this easy and cheaper initial test. At £25 per test it will not break the NHS bank. In tests 18 patients from a test sample of 20 were discovered to have early stages of heart disease. Susequently, they received other tests now generally used and these confirmed the findings. The importance here is that the new test is easy for GP"s to administer to any patient they may feel is a possible potential heart risk long before it becomes areal problem.

In medicine they say that diagnosis is everything. The earlier the diagnosis the better chance for the patient to recover or for preventative actions to be taken.



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