Test Strip May Help Heart Failure Patients Self-Monitor

If the ST2 antigen is present, a blue dot appears on the strip; if the BNP antigen is present, then a green dot appears
If the ST2 antigen is present, a blue dot appears on the strip; if the BNP antigen is present, then a green dot appears

Researchers have created a new test strip that can potentially allow patients with heart failure to monitor their progression, according to a study published in ACS Nano.

Close monitoring is needed in managing heart failure in order to optimize treatment and prevent emergency department visits. Measuring the levels of ST2 (suppression of tumorigenicity 2) and BNP (brain natriuretic peptide), two target antigens linked to heart failure, can be useful to assess disease progression, but this requires trained staff and lab equipment. 

Study authors from China aimed to develop a simple test to allow physicians and patients to perform the same analysis at the office or home. A paper-based test was created which requires a small sample of blood (10mcL). If the ST2 antigen is present in the sample, a blue dot appears on the strip; if the BNP antigen is present in the sample, then a green dot appears. The intensity of either color grows with concentration, which indicates that the patient's heart failure is likely worsening. 

An accompanying mobile app can analyze the results and transmit the data to the patient's physician who can then adjust treatment as necessary. Study authors were able to test 38 serum samples using the platform and successfully detected the minimal levels of ST2 and BNP in these samples. When compared to the FDA-approved techniques, the authors found "a good linear correlation, indicating the practical reliability and stability of [the] UC-LFS platform." 

The test proved to be highly sensitive and highly specific in the prognosis of heart failure, which can potentially help in risk assessment and health monitoring of patients at home.

For more information visit pubs.acs.org.