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Simple Test Helps Predict Heart Attack Risk
Date:3/10/2009

. Murphy, M.D., an interventional radiologist and director of the Vascular Disease Research Center at Rhode Island Hospital in Providence. "These simple tests--like ABI screening--have the potential to improve the accuracy of cardiovascular risk prediction and thereby have significant public health impact by helping identify people for intensive medical therapy and preventing heart attacks and strokes," said Murphy.

While 91 percent of the NHANES group was considered at low or intermediate risk of cardiovascular disease, according to Framingham criteria alone, almost 45 percent of them were found to have at least one of three conditions: an abnormal ABI or elevated plasma fibrinogen or elevated plasma C-reactive protein (CRP). "Even with abnormal ABI, which was the least prevalent of the three novel risk factors evaluated, that number translates into about 2.1 million Americans, age 40 and older, who have no known history of heart disease, stroke, diabetes or atherosclerotic vascular disease," said Murphy. "There is also a good chance that ABI, which actually detects subclinical already-established atherosclerotic disease, may actually perform better in terms of risk prediction than fibrinogen or C-reactive protein because it may be more specific," Murphy said.

About 1.1 million Americans every year have heart attacks, and almost a third of those heart attacks results in death. Another 750,000 individuals experience stroke each year. Risk factors--like smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity--increase one's risk of heart attack and are associated with 75 percent of all heart attacks. However, the other 25 percent of heart attacks or sudden cardiac deaths occur in individuals not known to have risk factors and thought to be at low risk for cardiovascular disease. "The earlier the detection of who's at risk for heart attacks is crucial. Primary prevention--such as initiating lifestyle changes and medical intervention dire
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SOURCE Society of Interventional Radiology
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