What is Hertta?

Hertta is a blood sample test that measures the risk of a severe heart attack more accurately than commonly used cholesterol tests. Hertta test measures also the risk of getting type 2 diabetes.

Cardiovascular diseases are the most common cause of death globally and in Europe.

Coronary artery disease is a chronic disease that narrows the vascular arteries. Arterial stenosis often begins in adolescence. The disease develops slowly, and its development does not appear outward. Coronary artery disease may be completely symptom-free and your heart attack may be the first symptom. The cholesterol levels do not reveal the hidden risk for a heart attack. The cholesterol levels may be normal and still the risk of a heart attack may be elevated.

Hertta was developed in Finland and it measures the risk of a serious heart attack more accurately than cholesterol tests. Hertta predicts the risk of a heart attack in the next few years (1-10 years). By doing the Hertta-test you will find out whicih risk group you belong to. The earlier the risk is detected, the better the risk can be reduced for example by life style modification.

Who should do the Hertta-test?

Hertta – heart attack risk test, is suitable for persons having family history of cardiovascular disease. Persons having risk factors for cardiovascular disease such as high cholesterol, diabetes, hypertension, chest pain, shortness of breath, and arrhythmias. Hertta – heart attack risk test can also be used to evaluate the risk of recurrent heart attacks of coronary artery disease patients. Furthermore, Hertta can detect residual risk of patients using cholesterol lowering medication. Despite cholesterol lowering medication, the risk of heart attack may still be elevated.

What if I belong to the high-risk group?

If your risk of a heart attack is elevated, we recommend talking to your doctor. The doctor will evaluate your situation and assess needed actions. Risk can be reduced with lifestyle changes such as smoking cessation, change in diet, increasing physical activity, and reducing stress. Treatment options also include initiation or optimization of drug therapy. On a case-by-case basis, an exercise test or coronary artery imaging may be considered.

References:

Laaksonen et al. 2016 Plasma ceramides predict cardiovascular death in patients with stable coronary artery disease and acute coronary syndromes beyond LDL-cholesterol, European Heart Journal, 28 April 2016

Havulinna et al. 2016 Circulating Ceramides Predict Cardiovascular Outcomes in the Population-Based FINRISK 2002 Cohort, Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2016; 36

Summers 2018 Could Ceramides Become the New Cholesterol, Cell Metabolism 27 (2), 276-280.

Kauhanen et al. 2016 Development and validation of a high-throughput LC-MS/MS assay for routine measurement of molecular ceramides, Anal Bioanal Chem. 2016 May;408(13):3475-83

Cheng et al. 2015 Plasma concentrations of molecular lipid species in relation to coronary plaque characteristics and cardiovascular outcome: Results of the ATHEROREMO-IVUS study, Atherosclerosis 2015 Dec;243(2):560-6