PLAC test for heart's sake


The majority of all heart attacks and strokes are caused by plaque rupture, resulting in clots, not from narrowing of the arteries. Early detection and more aggressive treatment can help prevent these cardio-vascular problems.

A simple PLAC test will do. There are other blood tests that measure inflammation within the body, such as high sensitivity C-reactive protein or hs-CRP. But the test is not as sensitive to inflammation of the artery walls because it can also be affected by other factors, such as complications from diabetes and obesity.  The PLAC test, on the other hand, measures an enzyme produced within the plaques of artery walls, making it an even more accurate indicator of arterial inflammation. The test is different from standard cholesterol tests and blood tests for inflammation, because Lp-PLA2 is a specific cardiovascular risk factor that provides unique information about the stability of arterial plaques. Unstable arterial plaques can rupture, leading to an acute heart attack or stroke.

The PLAC test predicts risk for heart attack (coronary heart disease) and ischemic stroke associated with arterial plaques (atherosclerosis). It is a simple blood test - approved by US FDA - that measures the amount of lipoprotein-associated phospholipase A2, or Lp-PLA2, an enzyme associated with inflammation of the walls of your arteries. Elevated levels of this enzyme indicate an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.

There is no preparation required before the test. You do not need to be fasting, and you can take your medications as directed. 
(The writer is general manager, medicomarketing, Metropolis Healthcare Ltd)

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