Ottawa researchers have found a protein that becomes elevated in the blood of patients before they have a heart attack.
The discovery could lead to drugs to prevent the often fatal medical condition.
The University of Ottawa Heart Institute researchers found the level of protein PCSK9 increased prior to a heart attack, but wasn't present in people who had never had a heart attack or who had recovered from one.
PCSK9 increases levels of LDL cholesterol, or bad cholesterol, in the bloodstream.
The scientists first identified the link between PCSK9 and heart attacks using blood samples from Ottawa patients who have coronary artery disease, then confirmed their results with patients from Atlanta, Ga.
The study was published in the journal PLOS One.
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