A relatively unknown heart disease test is gaining recognition in medical community for its non-invasive application and consistent results.

Coronary heart disease is a major health problem in the United States. Heart attacks claim more than 400,000 lives every year, according to the America Heart Association.

The Corus CAD blood test is a non-invasive gene expression test that gives patients their results as a number, indicating the percent risk of major blockage of a major coronary artery. The resulting number will tell the physician whether or not more extensive testing should be undertaken for the patient.

The test, which has only been commercially available for the past 18 months, is recommended for men over 50 and women over 60, according to Merle Turner, D.O. of Warner Family Practice.

"The company who is selling this test developed an algorithm specific to men and women," Turner said. "It is age and sex specific to achieve more accurate results."

Turner said he was impressed by the results of an 1,800-person clinical trial before bringing the test to his practice.

"I've had an interest in heart attack and stroke prevention and because of the interest, a salesperson approached me," he said. "I was impressed that it is a validated study and that it was a large enough sample that it gave validity to the clinical trial as well."

Since bringing the Corus test to Warner Family Practice, Turner said he has already seen results.

"Within the first few people, I believed we saved a man's life," he said.

That man was 78-year-old Ahwatukee Foothills resident Stan Hall.

Hall went to Turner to have his overall health checked out, his daughter, Kristy Hall, said. When he was given the Corus test his score came back at 65 percent, indicating the risk of a major artery blockage.

"Anytime a patient is over 50, I recommend them to the cardiologist," Turner said.

Kristy Hall said the cardiologist was "thrilled" that Turner was using the Corus test.

"Up until that test things were more vague; it dealt more in possibilities," she said. "Once the surgeon got in there he found one particular artery was 90 percent blocked."

At that point, the family had to fly out of state to remove the blockage.

"Afterwards, the surgeon told us that he had avoided a major heart attack," she said. "We're deeply grateful, not just to Dr. Turner, but to the test."

To find out more, visit www.warnerfamilypractice.net.

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