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Window shopper's disease: New marker should help predict heart attacks

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(Vienna/Barcelona, 29 August 2017) – A new MedUni Vienna study presented at the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress in Barcelona offers the first indications that the receptor EMMPRIN (CD 147) could play a role in predicting cardiovascular events, such as heart attacks, in patients with Peripheral Arterial Occlusive Disease (PAOD or "window-shopper's disease").

"Raised EMMPRIN levels are associated with a poorer outcome," reports Bernhard Zierfuss from the IRINA (Insulin Resistance and Inflammation in Atherosclerosis) working group (Head: Gerit Schernthaner) of the Medical University of Vienna, lead author of a study presented at the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress. "Raised EMMPRIN levels could in principle be interpreted as a marker for the atherosclerotic burden or as a marker for unstable vascular deposits, which could lead to fatal cardiac events, among other things."

PAOD patients display much higher mortality rates and PAOD increases the risk of developing other atherosclerotic problems. For example, up to 62% of patients with symptomatic PAOD also have coronary heart disease (CHD). Data from the REACH registry show that the presence of both PAOD and CHC significantly increases the risk of cardiac events. Says Zierfuss: "No investigations have previously been conducted into the significance of EMMPRIN as a marker for the atherosclerotic disease burden or as a predictor for cardiovascular events in PAOD patients."

A limiting factor in cardiovascular studies, according to Zierfuss, is the small number of cases, namely only 369 patients and 36 fatal cardiac events after five years. Additional studies will be required to establish the further prognostic significance of EMMPRIN.

PAOD causes intermittent pain in the legs. Narrowing of the arteries in the legs leads to circulatory problems and sufferers are forced to take little breaks when walking, as if they were window-shopping – hence the name "window-shopper's disease".

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B. Says Zierfuss et al.: EMMPRIN (CD 147) levels predict cardiac death in a peripheral arterial disease cohort after a five year follow-up period