New heart attack calculator helps doctors predict deadly conditions earlier

New heart attack calculator helps doctors predict deadly conditions earlier


A NEW heart attack calculator to help doctors identify patients most at risk of deadly conditions has been developed.

The calculator has been dubbed as the "new gold standard for doctors" and could help predict those who are at risk of heart attack or stroke in the next ten years.

Heart and circulatory diseases are the world’s biggest killers, impacting the lives of 7.6 million people across the UK alone.

Experts in Europe analysed data from 45 studies, including 700,000 patients – which had been tracked for ten years.

The team looked specifically at known risk factors such as age and smoking and combined these with regional heart health trends.

The SCORE2 calculator will help doctors identify high-risk patients faster.

People who are flagged as having an increased risk can be put on personalised preventative treatment.

This could include statins, or lifestyle advice to lower their risk.

When they were recruited to the study, particpants had no prior history of heart disease.

What is a heart attack and how is it treated?

A HEART attack – or myocardial infarction – occurs when one of the coronary arteries becomes blocked

The heart muscle is then robbed of vital oxygenated blood which, if left untreated, can cause the heart muscle to begin to die.

How is it treated?

The first port of call for treatment, is for doctors to treat the blocked artery.

There are two main procedures used to open up the blocked blood vessel.

The first, a primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PPCI) is an emergency coronary angioplasty.

It opens the blockage and helps restore blood supply to the heart.

The second treatment, is thrombosis, also known as a "clot buster".

It involves injecting a drug into the vein to dissolve the blood clot and restore blood supply to the heart that way.

In some cases this procedure can be performed in the ambulance.

While these treatments are common, in some cases they will not be right for the patient and so won't be performed

They were followed up after ten years and it was found that 30,000 had experienced a cardiovascular event, described as either a fatal or non fatal heart attack or a stroke.

The SCORE2 tool then re-calibrated by using data from 10.8 million people using other known risk factors such as age, sex, cholesterol levels, blood pressure and smoking.

Professor Emanuele Di Angelantonio, BHF-funded researcher at the University of Cambridge BHF Centre of Research Excellence said the new tool is much more powerful in comparison to what doctors have been using for decades.

"It will fit seamlessly into current prevention programmes with substantial real-world impact by improving the prevention of cardiovascular diseases across Europe before they strike", he added.


The previous prediction tool was developed using data before 1986 and underestimated the cardiovascular risk in some countries.

The new SCORE2 risk calculator accounts for current trends in heart and circulatory diseases.

It can also predict both fatal and non-fatal conditions and is adaptable to countries with different levels of risk.

The experts said that this will help predict risk in younger patients and will make sure treatment is tailored for older patients and those in high risk groups.

Professor Sir Nilesh Samani, Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation and cardiologist explained that the new tool is a major advance.

He said: "It will be the new gold standard for doctors to determine which patients are at the highest risk of these conditions, and enable tailored treatment and lifestyle advice to be given much earlier.”

The study was published in the European Heart Journal.

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