New 'score' to predict heart disease in youngsters

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London, Dec 09 (ANI): University of Nottingham researchers have developed a new 'score', which could be useful for general practitioners (GP) to detect heart disease in youngsters - before it damages their health.

The researchers studied data of over two and half million people and then developed, validated and evaluated the new lifetime 'score' which takes account, among many other factors, social deprivation and ethnicity.

"This new score has the potential to identify younger people who have a high risk over the course of their lifetime, who are currently not picked up by the more conventional '10 year' risk scores. By identifying people at a younger age, GPs will have more chance of intervening before heart disease sets in, to help reduce their lifetime risk through treatments and lifestyle advice," said Julia Hippisley-Cox, Professor of Clinical Epidemiology and General Practice in the School of Community Health.

The new lifetime score also takes account of other factors including: smoking status, systolic blood pressure, cholesterol levels, body mass index, family history of heart disease, and age and sex.

The new lifetime 'score' shows that different people could be at high risk compared with the 10-year risk score. The new 'score' will identify people for possible intervention at a much younger age.

It was developed using data from over 500 GP practices, feeding into the QRESEARCH database.

Using the QRESEARCH database Professor Hippisley-Cox, with others, has been able to produce a model based on a large, ethnically diverse population.

The information could be updated to take account of improvements in data quality and refined over time to reflect trends in population characteristics, changes in clinical requirements and improved methods for communicating cardiovascular risk to patients.

"Our study leaves a number of unanswered questions. These include whether early intervention in people with a high lifetime risk but low 10-year risk would have a greater clinical benefit than later intervention; whether people at low absolute risk would value long term treatments with little short term gain; determining the appropriate threshold for lifetime risk to balance the expected benefits against the potential adverse effects of interventions such as statins," said Hippisley-Cox.

The results of their research are published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ). (ANI)

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