Heart Disease: More Accurate Prediction

Heart Disease: More Accurate Prediction

Reported March 19, 2010

(Ivanhoe Newswire) — A new measure more accurately predicts risk for cardiac disease and death, according to recent research.

The Intermountain Risk Score, a measurement tool that looks at age and sex, but also adds the results of routine blood tests not included in the assessment system commonly used by physicians today, may prove to be the gold standard for predicting an individual’s future coronary heart disease risk.

The Intermountain Risk Score was devised by researchers from the Heart Institute at Intermountain Medical Center in Murray, Utah. The researchers compared the Intermountain Risk Score with the Framingham Risk Score, currently considered the best standard for measuring future coronary heart disease risk. The Framingham index looks at total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes, age, and gender.


“Framingham does a good job of classifying groups of patients. But it’s not as good at indentifying an individual’s risk for disease,” principal author Benjamin Horne, PhD, director of cardiovascular and genetic epidemiology at the Heart Institute at Intermountain Medical Center, was quoted as saying.



“Our research has shown that the Intermountain Risk Score really improves a doctor’s ability to measure patient risk. And it does it by including two simple and inexpensive tests: the complete blood count and metabolic profiles,” said Horne.

Researchers followed over 5,000 patients who were treated for vascular imaging. By combining the patients’ Framingham Risk Score with their Intermountain Risk Score, researchers found that they were 30 percent more likely to determine a woman’s risk, and 57 percent more likely to determine a man’s risk for a cardiovascular problem or death within 30 days of the angiography. The results remained substantially better than the Framingham score alone after one year and at five years.

“Adding the Intermountain Risk Score to the Framingham Risk Score substantially improves our ability to determine an individual’s risk of future coronary heart disease and associated problems,” said Dr. Horne.

“We are in the process of replicating these findings at an academic center in North Carolina. Our previous studies of the Intermountain Risk Score showed that it applies very well both to patients and to the general population in different geographic settings, so we expect it will improve on the Framingham Risk Score in that East Coast population as well,” Dr. Horne said. “We are also evaluating which health conditions are best predicted by the Intermountain Risk Score, and how changes over time in laboratory values influence the scoring system’s ability to predict health outcomes.”

SOURCE: Presented at the American College of Cardiology annual scientific session, Atlanta, March 14, 2010