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Medicineworld.org: Increased screening for those at higher risk for heart disease

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Increased screening for those at higher risk for heart disease




Adding noninvasive imaging to current risk-assessment protocols may identify more people at risk of developing heart disease, UT Southwestern Medical Center scientists have found.

Scientists used data from the UT Southwestern-led Dallas Heart Study to determine whether using computed tomography (CT) to scan patients hearts for calcium deposits and blockages could identify more people at high risk for heart disease and who could benefit from cholesterol-lowering treatment.

The recommendations by the Screening for Heart Attack Prevention and Education (SHAPE) task force are a proposed update to the current guidelines, were updated by the National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel III (NCEP-ATP III) in 2004.



Increased screening for those at higher risk for heart disease

In findings published in todays edition of Archives of Internal Medicine, scientists observed that the additional imaging proposed by the SHAPE task force did indeed increase the number of patients classified at high risk.

We added imaging of coronary artery calcium, as recommended by the SHAPE task force, to determine if this strategy would augment current risk assessment, said Dr. Jason Lindsey, an author of the paper and cardiology fellow at UT Southwestern.

The efficiency of calcium screening as per the SHAPE recommendations was determined by the number of people who had to be scanned before a single participant was reclassified as either meeting or not meeting individual cholesterol goals.

In our sample of participants in the Dallas Heart Study, we observed that by applying SHAPE recommendations compared with the current guidelines (NCEP-ATP III) there was a 27 percent relative increase in the proportion of patients who would need lipid-lowering treatment, said Dr. James de Lemos, associate professor of internal medicine at UT Southwestern and the studys senior author.

SHAPE calls for a broader application of atherosclerosis imaging than is currently recommended. Whether increased imaging of patients will be cost effective in the long term remains to be seen, Dr. de Lemos said.

We cant say what would happen in terms of clinical outcomes, but in terms of risk assessment we can provide a model of how these guidelines would impact therapy, Dr. de Lemos said. We observed that for every seven people who had calcium imaging, one needed to readjust cholesterol goals to lower levels.

Coronary calcium scans use computerized tomography (CT) to scan the heart and look for calcium deposits and blockages. The risk of coronary heart disease increases with higher calcium scores.

Calcium buildup can lead to atherosclerosis, a metabolic and inflammatory disease that causes plaque to accumulate in the arteries.

Dr. Scott Grundy, director of the Center for Human Nutrition at UT Southwestern and an author on the Archives paper, served as chairman of the NCEP panel which updated the guidelines for the clinical use of cholesterol-lowering medications to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Current NCEP guidelines identify three categories of risk based on a person's likelihood to develop cardiovascular disease (heart attack and stroke) in the near future: high risk, moderately high risk, and lower to moderate risk. High-risk individuals are those who have already had a heart attack; cardiac chest pain (angina); prior angioplasty or bypass surgery; obstructed blood vessels to the arms, legs or brain; diabetes; or a collection of other risk factors that raise the likelihood of having a heart attack in the next 10 years by more than 20 percent.

The proportion of participants identified as not meeting their cholesterol goals increased with age, with the greatest net increase among people ages 55 to 65 years old.


Posted by: Daniel    Source




Did you know?
Adding noninvasive imaging to current risk-assessment protocols may identify more people at risk of developing heart disease, UT Southwestern Medical Center scientists have found. Scientists used data from the UT Southwestern-led Dallas Heart Study to determine whether using computed tomography (CT) to scan patients hearts for calcium deposits and blockages could identify more people at high risk for heart disease and who could benefit from cholesterol-lowering treatment.

Medicineworld.org: Increased screening for those at higher risk for heart disease

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