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New Cardiovascular Risk Prediction Models Developed for Women

Researchers have developed a more accurate way to predict the risk of developing cardiovascular disease among women, according// to a study in the issue of JAMA.

"In the decade between 1956 and 1966, investigators in Framingham, Mass., defined age, hypertension (high blood pressure), smoking, diabetes and hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol levels) as major determinants of coronary heart disease and coined the term coronary risk factors," according to background information provided by the authors. "Over time, these markers were codified into global risk scores for assessment of cardiovascular risk. However, for women, up to 20 percent of all coronary events occur in the absence of these major risk factors, whereas many women with traditional risk factors do not experience coronary events." The authors note that although understanding of cardiovascular disease has changed dramatically in the past half-century, the algorithms (predictive models) for women are largely unchanged from those recommended 40 years ago.

Paul M Ridker, M.D., M.P.H., from Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, and colleagues, developed and validated cardiovascular risk algorithms for women based on a large set of traditional and new risk factors. The researchers assessed 35 risk factors among 24,558 initially healthy women (free of cardiovascular disease and cancer at the beginning of the study) 45 years or older from the Women's Health Study who were followed up for a median of 10.2 years for incident (new) cardiovascular events, such as myocardial infarction (heart attack), ischemic stroke, coronary revascularization, and cardiovascular deaths. The researchers used data among a randomly selected two-thirds of the women (n = 16,400) to develop new algorithms that were then tested to compare observed and predicted outcomes in the remaining one-third of women (n = 8,158). The new algorithms are called the Reynolds Risk Score and the clinically simplified model for non-diab
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