New heart disease and stroke risk estimator App now available

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The American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association have released a mobile and web-based app for health care professionals to use with their patients in determining 10-year and lifetime risks for developing atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.

“This tool is meant to facilitate a conversation between the health care provider and the patient about the patient’s risk of heart attack and stroke and how best to reduce those risks,” says John G Harold, president of the American College of Cardiology. “While we hope the app will make the risk assessment guidelines more accessible, it is not a substitute for face-to-face engagement. It is a tool to help health professionals and patients work together as part of a discussion of the patient’s medical history and lifestyle.”

According to a press release, the Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease Risk Estimator (a mobile and web version of the Excel-based calculator released with the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association Cardiovascular Risk Guideline distributed in November 2013) uses a patient’s age, sex, race, total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, systolic blood pressure, blood pressure-lowering medication use, diabetes status and smoking status to estimate their 10-year and lifetime risk of heart attack and ischaemic stroke. The app also helps health care professionals determine whether statin therapy is appropriate, what intensity of statin therapy is needed, how to address safety concerns of statin therapy, and what lifestyle changes should be made.

“We are pleased the risk assessment guidelines are now available in easy to access tools,” says Mariell Jessup, president of the American Heart Association. “The guidelines were broadened late last year to include the assessment for risk of stroke as well as heart attack. This app incorporates the stroke risk as well as the new gender- and ethnicity-specific formulas for predicting risk in African-American and white women and men found in the guidelines, and it looks beyond traditional short-term (10-year) risk estimates to predict an individual’s lifetime risk of developing heart disease and having a stroke.”