A new measurement tool to determine cardiac risk has been developed by researchers.
Experts at the Heart Institute at Intermountain Medical Center in Murray, Utah, have come up with the Intermountain Risk Score, which deciphers an individual's risk for problems, such as heart attack and heart failure.
It keeps in note age and sex, and adds the results of routine blood tests, unlike assessment system commonly used by physicians.
Researchers compared the Intermountain Risk Score with the Framingham Risk Score, currently the gold standard for measuring future coronary heart disease risk, as part of their study.
The Framingham index looks at total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes, age, and gender.
Benjamin Horne, director of cardiovascular and genetic epidemiology at the Heart Institute at Intermountain Medical Center, and the principal author of the study, said: "Framingham does a good job of classifying groups of patients. But it's not as good at indentifying an individual's risk for disease.
"Our research has shown that the Intermountain Risk Score really improves a doctor's ability to measure patient risk. And it does it by including two simple and inexpensive tests: the complete blood count and metabolic profiles."
Researchers combined the Framingham Risk Score with the Intermountain Risk Score of over 5,000 patients who were treated for angiography, or vascular imaging.
It was found that they were 30 percent more likely to correctly determine a woman's risk, and 57 percent more likely to determine a man's risk for a cardiovascular problem or death within 30 days of the angiography.
Horne added: "Adding the Intermountain Risk Score to the Framingham Risk Score substantially improves our ability to determine an individual's risk of future coronary heart disease and associated problems.
He concluded: "We are in the process of replicating these findings at an academic center in North Carolina. Our previous studies of the Intermountain Risk Score showed that it applies very well both to patients and to the general population in different geographic settings, so we expect it will improve on the Framingham Risk Score in that East Coast population as well.
"We are also evaluating which health conditions are best predicted by the Intermountain Risk Score, and how changes over time in laboratory values influence the scoring system's ability to predict health outcomes."
The study will be presented on March 14, at the American College of Cardiology's 59th annual scientific session in Atlanta.