Combined strategies better assess heart disease risks

June 2, 2017 by Anna Williams, Northwestern University

A new strategy combining five separate medical tests provided a significantly better risk assessment of cardiovascular disease among adults, compared to traditional measures, according to a study published in Circulation.

The approach could help clinicians better pinpoint patients who don't have traditional heart disease risk factors but who nonetheless might benefit from prevention efforts and therapies.

Philip Greenland, MD, the Harry W. Dingman Professor of Cardiology and director of the Center for Population Health Sciences, was a co-author of the paper.

Current factors, including blood pressure, cholesterol and smoking history, are limited in their accuracy of predicting risk. Furthermore, they typically only consider risk of cardiovascular disease events related to atherosclerosis— and stroke—and don't address the risk for other heart problems, such as atrial fibrillation and heart failure.

"We know that the traditional risk factors are helpful, but there is still a lot of overlap between the risk factors for people who turn out to have a heart attack and people who don't. So we've been looking for a way to further separate the groups," Greenland said.

In the current study, the investigators determined that a combination of five blood and imaging-based biomarkers was more accurate at identifying people at risk for heart attack and stroke, and allowed for expanding the to include and .

The investigators looked at data from participants in two large population studies, the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) and the Dallas Heart Study (DHS), who did not have .

The five tests included a 12-lead electrocardiogram, a coronary calcium scan and blood measures for C-reactive protein, troponin T and NT-proBNP, which had all been individually shown to modestly improve risk assessment.

"These five tests all seem to be individually useful," said Greenland, also a professor of Epidemiology in the Department of Preventive Medicine. "And now this study shows that when you combine them, they seem to be even more useful."

Explore further: These five tests better predict heart disease risk

More information: James A. de Lemos et al. Multimodality Strategy for Cardiovascular Risk AssessmentClinical Perspective, Circulation (2017). DOI: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.117.027272

Related Stories

These five tests better predict heart disease risk

March 31, 2017
March 30, 2017 - Five simple medical tests together provide a broader and more accurate assessment of heart-disease risk than currently used methods, cardiologists at UT Southwestern Medical Center found.

Non-O blood groups associated with higher risk of heart attack

April 30, 2017
Having a non-O blood group is associated with a higher risk of heart attack, according to research presented today at Heart Failure 2017 and the 4th World Congress on Acute Heart Failure.

Coronary calcium predicts heart disease risk in patients with chronic kidney disease

August 21, 2014
Calcium buildup in the coronary arteries may be a better indicator of kidney disease patients' risk of heart disease than traditional risk factors used in the general population, according to a study appearing in an upcoming ...

Short episodes of abnormal heart rhythm may not increase risk of stroke

October 17, 2016
People with pacemakers or defibrillators who experience only short episodes of an abnormal heart rhythm known as atrial fibrillation have a very low risk of stroke, suggesting that anticoagulants in this group of patients ...

Irregular heartbeat linked to wider range of serious conditions than previously thought

September 6, 2016
An irregular heartbeat (known as atrial fibrillation) is associated with a wide range of serious events, including heart attacks, heart failure, chronic kidney disease, and sudden cardiac death, finds a large study in The ...

Study shows value of calcium scan in predicting heart attack, stroke among those considered at risk

December 23, 2013
A new study shows that coronary artery calcium (CAC) screening, an assessment tool that is not currently recommended for people considered at low risk, should play a more prominent role in helping determine a person's risk ...

Recommended for you

Researchers borrow from AIDS playbook to tackle rheumatic heart disease

January 22, 2018
Billions of US taxpayer dollars have been invested in Africa over the past 15 years to improve care for millions suffering from the HIV/AIDS epidemic; yet health systems on the continent continue to struggle. What if the ...

A nanoparticle inhalant for treating heart disease

January 18, 2018
A team of researchers from Italy and Germany has developed a nanoparticle inhalant for treating people suffering from heart disease. In their paper published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, the group describes ...

Starting periods before age of 12 linked to heightened risk of heart disease and stroke

January 15, 2018
Starting periods early—before the age of 12—is linked to a heightened risk of heart disease and stroke in later life, suggests an analysis of data from the UK Biobank study, published online in the journal Heart.

'Decorated' stem cells could offer targeted heart repair

January 10, 2018
Although cardiac stem cell therapy is a promising treatment for heart attack patients, directing the cells to the site of an injury - and getting them to stay there - remains challenging. In a new pilot study using an animal ...

Two simple tests could help to pinpoint cause of stroke

January 10, 2018
Detecting the cause of the deadliest form of stroke could be improved by a simple blood test added alongside a routine brain scan, research suggests.

Exercise is good for the heart, high blood pressure is bad—researchers find out why

January 10, 2018
When the heart is put under stress during exercise, it is considered healthy. Yet stress due to high blood pressure is bad for the heart. Why? And is this always the case? Researchers of the German Centre for Cardiovascular ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.