Biostatisticians in the Statistical Consultation and Research Center in the Keck School’s Department of Preventive Medicine have found a way to improve prediction of coronary heart disease risk in asymptomatic individuals.
The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published the findings in its Jan. 14 issue.
USC’s collaborators on the study, “Coronary Artery Calcium Score combined with Framingham Score for risk prediction in asymptomatic individuals” included researchers at Harbor-UCLA Research and Education Institute, the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University and Cedars Sinai Medical Center.
The study showed that knowing the amount of coronary artery calcium present in a patient’s body could be combined with an assessment scale known as the Framingham Risk Score to more accurately predict heart disease risk.
The Framingham Risk Score is a multivariable statistical model that employs age, sex, smoking history, blood pressure, cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and blood glucose/history of diabetes to estimate heart attack risk in individuals without prior coronary heart disease.
Current guidelines advise that all adults should undergo coronary heart disease risk assessment to guide preventive treatment intensity, and the Framingham Risk Score is often recommended for this purpose.
The study suggests that by using a combination of the two assessments, clinicians could better determine prevention and treatment, especially of intermediate-risk patients in whom decision-making is most uncertain.
The Statistical Consultation and Research Center, which is funded by the National Institutes of Health, is the data coordinating and analysis center for the South Bay Heart Watch Study under the direction of Stanley P. Azen, professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine.
Robert C. Detrano, division of cardiology, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, is the principal investigator of the study.
Detrano also collaborates with several investigators at the Keck School of Medicine on projects in atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease.