February 23, 2015 – Heart Risk


Anchor lead: How does a doctor calculate heart disease risk? Elizabeth Tracey reports

Cardiovascular disease remains the number one cause of death worldwide.  When physicians assess a person’s risk they employ various calculators.  Now a Johns Hopkins study led by Michael Blaha,  a preventive cardiology expert, and colleagues, has taken a look at how well five popular calculators predict risk.

Blaha: We think this is a really important study because we compared five of the most commonly used cardiovascular disease risk estimators, and their predictive performance in one study in the multiethnic study of atherosclerosis. This is the largest study of the comparative value of these risk predictors even undertaken, and we included analysis of the 2013 ACC/AHA risk estimator.  What we found in this study is that most of these risk estimators actually overestimate risk.  The risk estimators predict risk that’s actually higher than what we actually observe.   :31

Blaha says as a patient it’s important to ask about the tools being used to assess your risk.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.