HEART RISK ASSESSMENT
ANCHOR LEAD: A NEW TOOL MAY HELP PRIMARY CARE DOCS ASSESS THE LIKELIHOOD OF BLOOD FLOW COMPROMISE TO THE HEART, ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS
Do you have significant blockage in your coronary arteries, the blood vessels that supply your heart with blood? Many millions of dollars are spent each year answering that question, but now a new, simple tool has been developed by European researchers for use by primary care doctors to help them determine who needs additional testing. Rick Lange, a cardiologist at Johns Hopkins, describes the tool.
LANGE: This is primarily symptom-based, and it’s applicable to individuals in a primary care setting as opposed to an emergency room setting. It’s very simple, that is, assessing the patient’s age and sex, knowing whether they have known blood vessel disease, whether the patient assumes the pain is of heart origin, whether the pain is worse during exercise, and whether it’s not reproducible by pressing or palpation of the chest. The absence of these, that is identifying two or less, identifies 98% chance that there is not coronary artery disease present. :27
Such a simple test may be able to reduce the number of additional heart tests in those who don’t really need them by a third. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.