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Simple test helps predict heart attack risk
Date:3/10/2009

SAN DIEGO, Calif. (March 10, 2009)The use of common and readily available screening testslike the ankle brachial index (ABI)along with traditional risk scoring systemssuch as the Framingham Risk Scorehas the potential to prevent devastating heart attacks in thousands of individuals who are not originally thought to be at high risk (according to Framingham alone), say researchers at the Society of Interventional Radiology's 34th Annual Scientific Meeting. About 25 percent of all heart attacks or sudden cardiac deaths in the United States occur in individuals thought to be at low risk.

In the study, information was analyzed from the 1999-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES)a nationally representative cross-sectional survey of the U.S. population for 6,292 men and women ages 40 and older without known history of heart disease, stroke, diabetes or atherosclerotic vascular diseasealong with available data on standard cardiovascular risk factors and screening tests (like the ABI, which is a comparative blood pressure test). For the first time, researchers determined the prevalence of peripheral arterial disease (PAD) in a large population of women and men who were not considered at high risk for cardiovascular disease. And the results are surprising: novel risk factors (those not traditionally considered in the Framingham Risk Score) are abnormal in up to 45 percent of those not considered high risk for coronary heart events.

"This is significant news that can profoundly impact public health. If novel risk factors are shown to improve risk prediction, they could be very valuable because the prevalence of abnormal values is high in populations not known to have high risk," said Timothy P. Murphy, M.D., an interventional radiologist and director of the Vascular Disease Research Center at Rhode Island Hospital in Providence. "These simple testslike ABI screeninghave the potential to improve the accuracy of cardiovascular risk
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Contact: Maryann Verrillo
mverrillo@SIRweb.org
703-460-5572
Society of Interventional Radiology
Source:Eurekalert

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