Scientists develop new tool to detect heart disease

Photo credit: Unsplash+

The global health challenge of heart disease

Heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide.

This reality has led researchers to understand and quantify the cumulative effects of various risk factors, such as high blood pressure, obesity and high cholesterol, on a person’s likelihood of having a heart attack or stroke.

Researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) have responded to this challenge by developing a tool that predicts heart disease risk for people over 40.

The tool takes into account a person’s overall exposure to risk factors for heart disease over the years.

The research behind the tool

This innovative risk prediction tool was developed using data from the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study.

CARDIA followed around 5,000 healthy young adults from four US cities for 30 years.

This rich source of data allowed UMSOM researchers to understand the additive effects of multiple risk factors that can lead to cardiovascular disease.

The study’s results, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, suggest that black patients have a 46 percent greater risk of developing heart disease compared to white patients.

This discrepancy persisted even when other risk factors such as family history, smoking habits, and college attendance were taken into account.

Findings from the study

dr Michael J. Domanski, the study’s lead author, emphasized the importance of risk reduction strategies.

He noted that the results suggested that self-identified black racial status was an indicator of underlying differences in the impact of risk factors.

These differences could be used to guide physicians in developing personalized prevention strategies and help public health policy makers assess the likely impact of proposed heart disease prevention programs.

The R Shiny App: A practical solution for providers

To turn their research into a practical tool, the UMSOM team developed the R Shiny app.

This innovative tool allows healthcare providers to input cardiovascular risk, patient history, and patient race to identify individual risks and determine how best to address them.

The app can be used to assess cardiovascular risks from the age of 40 based on the severity of risk factors in early adulthood.

A significant impact on patient health

Researchers believe this tool could have a significant impact on patient health.

By quantifying how much a patient’s risk would improve if, for example, they controlled their cholesterol levels and high blood pressure, doctors can persuade patients to take the necessary steps to reduce their risk of heart attack or stroke.

This tool could be particularly useful for vulnerable populations that have not received intensive treatment for cardiovascular risks in the past due to longstanding health disadvantages.

A look into the future: more data, more impact

During the two-decade follow-up period after age 40, 316 people in the study experienced their first cardiovascular event.

Today’s availability of electronic medical records enables the development of tools like the R Shiny app, which uses innovative approaches in statistical data science.

By advancing these tools, researchers can gain deeper insights into complex health issues such as cardiovascular disease and develop more accurate and personalized assessments of individual risk.

If you care about heart health, please read studies about it How eating eggs can help reduce the risk of heart diseaseAnd Herbal supplements can affect your heart rhythm.

For more information on heart health, see recent studies on dietary supplements that may prevent heart disease and stroke, and the results showing that a year of intense exercise in middle-age reversed worrying heart failure.

The study was published in Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Copyright © 2023 Knowridge Science Report. All rights reserved.

Related Articles

Back to top button