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Study to consider social risk in guiding prevention of heart disease
Date:10/8/2007

A University of Rochester Medical Center researcher has been awarded a National Institutes of Health grant to study whether accounting for social risk factors, in addition to traditional predictors, can be useful in assessing patients risk and ultimately preventing coronary heart disease.

Kevin A. Fiscella, M.D., M.P.H., associate professor in the Department of Family Medicine, was awarded $823,199 by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, part of the NIH, to demonstrate that inclusion of social risk factors socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity and marital status into overall risk assessment and preventive treatment guidelines offers the potential for reducing disparities in coronary heart disease (CHD).

Traditional tools to make predictions indicators such as age and gender, whether a patient is a smoker, diabetic or has high blood pressure have been used for decades by health care professionals to calculate a patients risk of heart disease, Fiscella said. Such predictions ultimately drive treatment.

A large body of research shows that a socioeconomic component also predicts risk in determining heart disease. Disparities in coronary heart disease mortality by socioeconomic status, race and ethnicity, have been extensively documented, but translating them into clinical practice to reduce CHD disparities has proven challenging and the data is not yet incorporated into formal health assessments, Fiscella said.

Were proposing to modify the risk tools to include socioeconomic factors and calculate the impact on prediction. If youre less educated or make less money, you have a much higher risk of heart disease. An inaccurate estimate impacts what tests and therapies a patient receives, and when. As a result, more intensive behavioral interventions focusing on diet, exercise, smoking cessation and medical adherence may be implemented.

Fiscellas three-year study will use a database containing more than 30,000 ad
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Contact: Karin Christensen
karin_christensen@urmc.rochester.edu
585-275-1311
University of Rochester Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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