Scientists find new way to save many more lives from heart attack and stroke

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In a new study from the University of Cambridge and elsewhere, researchers found that a new risk calculator will better predict people at high risk of heart and circulatory diseases years before they strike.

The risk calculator, SCORE2, will be adopted by the upcoming European Guidelines on Cardiovascular Disease Prevention in Clinical Practice.

It enables doctors across Europe to predict who’s at risk of having a heart attack or stroke in the next 10 years with greater accuracy.

The researchers say this new prediction tool will help save many more people across Europe from having a potentially deadly heart attack or stroke, ultimately saving lives.

People who are flagged as having an increased risk can be put on personalized preventative treatment, such statins, or will receive lifestyle advice to lower their risk.

The study a major collaborative effort involving around 200 investigators to develop SCORE2.

Researchers across Europe analyzed data from nearly 700,000 participants—mostly middle-aged—from 45 different studies. The tool has also been tailored for use in different European countries.

Participants had no prior history of heart and circulatory disease when they were recruited to the studies, and in the 10 years they were followed up, 30,000 had a ‘cardiovascular event’ – including fatal or non-fatal heart attack or stroke.

The risk tool was then statistically ‘recalibrated,” by using regional-specific cardiovascular and risk factor data from 10.8 million people, to more accurately estimate cardiovascular risk for populations split into four European risk regions.

The tool uses known risk factors for heart and circulatory diseases such as age, sex, cholesterol levels, blood pressure and smoking.

This is a much-needed upgrade from the previous prediction tool that was developed using data before 1986 and underestimated the cardiovascular risk in some countries.

The new SCORE2 risk calculator now accounts for current trends in heart and circulatory diseases, can predict both fatal and non-fatal conditions and is adaptable to countries with different levels of risk.

The researchers say that this upgrade will better estimate the cardiovascular risk amongst younger people, and will improve how the treatment is tailored for older people and those in high-risk regions.

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The study is published in European Heart Journal. One author of the study is Professor Emanuele Di Angelantonio.

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