Trials on the test, which takes only 30 minutes and looks for a chemical in the blood, found it was 99.6 per cent accurate, according to results published by the Lancet.
Current procedures require two tests: one when the individual is first admitted and another 12 hours later.
Present tests scan the blood for a chemical known as tropoin – released by damaged heart muscle – but the new test can determine much lower levels of the chemical in only 30 minutes.
Afterwards, instead of staying overnight as many patients currently do, people could be immediately discharged – helping patients’ mental wellbeing and saving money.
Scientists who developed the test at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary also claim the test costs less than £10, although many UK hospitals currently lack the facilities to implement it.
“It’s really exciting. When you look at patients who come to medical wards with chest pain, 80 per cent are going home 12 hours later,” Dr Atul Anand, a researcher and a doctor at the Edinburgh hospital where the test has been trialled, told the BBC.
The test has been trialled on 6,304 people, with the British Heart Foundation planning a wider trial of 26,000 people across the UK.
“A faster, more accurate diagnosis of whether chest pain is caused by a heart attack would be better for patients and save the NHS money,” commented professor Jeremy Pearson from the British Heart Foundation.