Tuesday, February 9, 2010

New ASA Test Now Available to Canadians

ASA Effect tells patients if ASA therapy is working to prevent heart attack and stroke

TORONTO, February 9, 2010 /Canada NewsWire/ - A convenient test is now available in Canada that determines if the ASA a patient is taking to prevent heart attack and stroke is working. ASA Effect(TM) is offered through LifeLabs Medical Laboratory Services and its network of collection and testing centres.

"We're pleased to introduce a new test that gives patients good information about the effectiveness of a drug they are taking," said Jos Wintermans, LifeLabs president and CEO. "ASA Effect offers physicians a simple tool to help them identify patients who do not respond to their ASA therapy."

ASA, also known as 'acetylsalicylic acid', works by making blood platelets less sticky, which can prevent blood clots from forming. If blood clots cannot form within the arteries blood flows more freely and the risk of heart attack and stroke is reduced.

It is estimated that over 4 million people in Canada take ASA every day to help prevent heart attacks and stroke. However, clinical studies have shown that as many as one in four patients do not benefit from the anti-clotting effects of ASA and that individuals who are ASA-resistant are three times more likely to die from a heart attack or stroke.

The ASA Effect test measures thromboxane, a chemical produced in the body that may cause blood to clot under certain conditions. Thromboxane levels are lower in individuals who respond well to their ASA therapy. A high level of thromboxane indicates that a patient may not be benefitting from their ASA therapy; these individuals should consult their physician regarding a potential change in dosage or to determine the need for alternative therapy.

Unlike other platelet tests, which require freshly drawn blood that must be evaluated within four hours, the ASA Effect test only requires a urine sample that can be collected at the doctor's office or LifeLabs patient service centres. For a complete list of LifeLabs locations, visit www.lifelabs.com.

The ASA Effect test was approved by Health Canada in May 2007. While it is not yet covered under provincial health insurance plans it may be covered under a patient's private insurance plan. The test is offered in Canada for $125 CDN. For more information on this test, visit www.ASAEffect.com.

About LifeLabs:

LifeLabs provides laboratory testing services, which help physicians and other healthcare professionals diagnose, treat, monitor and prevent disease in patients. LifeLabs employs more then 3000 professionally trained staff, who deliver more than 50 million laboratory tests annually to over 10 million patients and nearly 20,000 physician customers. LifeLabs has operated in Canada for nearly 50 years. Today it is owned by Borealis Infrastructure, a global leader in infrastructure investing, with assets in energy, transportation and infrastructure buildings, including long-term care facilities and hospitals, pipelines and telecommunications. For information, visit www.lifelabs.com.