Heart disease, stroke risk estimator app now available for health care professionals

by Nicole Napoli

(Medical Xpress)—The American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association have released a mobile and Web-based app for health care professionals to use with their patients in determining 10-year and lifetime risks for developing atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD), the major cause of heart attack and ischemic stroke.

"This tool is meant to facilitate a conversation between the and the patient about the patient's risk of heart attack and stroke and how best to reduce those risks," said John G. Harold, MD, MACC, president of the American College of Cardiology. "While we hope the app will make the risk assessment guidelines more accessible, it is not a substitute for face-to-face engagement. It is a tool to help health professionals and patients work together as part of a discussion of the patient's medical history and lifestyle."

The ASCVD Risk Estimator, a mobile and Web version of the Excel-based calculator released with the ACC/AHA Cardiovascular Risk Guideline released in November 2013, uses a patient's age, sex, race, total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, systolic blood pressure, blood pressure-lowering medication use, diabetes status and smoking status to estimate their 10-year and lifetime risk of heart attack and . The app also helps determine whether is appropriate, what intensity of statin therapy is needed, how to address safety concerns of statin therapy, and what lifestyle changes should be made.

"We are pleased the risk assessment guidelines are now available in easy to access tools," said Mariell Jessup, MD, president of the American Heart Association. "The guidelines were broadened late last year to include the assessment for risk of stroke as well as . This app incorporates the stroke risk as well as the new gender- and ethnicity-specific formulas for predicting risk in African-American and white women and men found in the guidelines, and it looks beyond traditional short-term (10-year) risk estimates to predict an individual's lifetime risk of developing heart disease and having a stroke."

The ASCVD Risk Estimator mobile app can be downloaded for free from the iTunes and Google Play app stores. The Web version is available on CardioSource.org and on myamericanheart.org

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