Easy ‘Thumb Test’ (May) Identify Fatal Heart Condition

Want to find out if you (potentially) have a fatal heart condition known as an ascending aortic aneurysm (where a large artery in the heart balloons out)? A recent study suggests that a simple thumb test can help you identify whether you have the condition, especially for those with a family history of aortic aneurysm.

After surveying 305 heart surgery patients (with varying disorders), the Yale-New Haven Hospital published an article in the American Journal of Cardiology where the researchers found a correlations between "positive thumb palm tests" correlated with a diagnosis of an aortic aneurysm. Basically, if the thumb crosses beyond the edge of the palm, it shows signs of connective tissue disease (including the aorta).

One of the authors of the study, Dr. John A. Elefteriades, said:

"Our study showed that the majority of aneurysm patients do not manifest a positive thumb-palm sign, but patients who do have a positive test have a high likelihood of harboring an aneurysm. The biggest problem in aneurysm disease is recognizing affected individuals within the general population before the aneurysm ruptures. Spreading knowledge of this test may well identify silent aneurysm carriers and save lives. It is important to emphasize that not everyone who tests positive is an aneurysm carrier… Also, [researchers] noted, aneurysms often take decades to progress to the point of rupture and a positive test is not cause for panic."

How does your thumb size up?

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