Scientists have revamped the traditional risk factor list for coronary diseases in women, by including two more risk factors.
Publishing results in the Journal of the American Medical Association,, the researchers led by Paul Ridker of Brigham's Hospital and colleagues of Women's Hospital, expressed the methods used to change the 40-year old risk factor list of cardiovascular disease and stroke.
It must be noted that the prediction covers a short-term period of 10 years only.
Accordingly, the new risk factors are: history of parental premature (before 60) heart disease and levels of high sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP).
From 1956 through 1966, investigators defined what they named "coronary risk factors" which were, hypertension, smoking, diabetes, and hyperlipidemia and which were then codified into global risk scores.
For the present study, around 25,000 previously healthy women were analyzed for these risk factors, and the additional two. Their medical histories were followed for 10 years.
Using suitable statistical tools, the researchers analyzed a random two-thirds of the group with the addition of the new risk factors and the other one- third with the standard risk factors alone.
Results of actual coronary events were compared with the predictions made for the two groups.
It was seen that up to 20% of all coronary events occurred in the absence of these risk factors and many women with traditional risk factors did not have a coronary event.
The researchers sought to figure out which of the potential risk factors most accurately forecast that women would have a serious cardiovascular problem.
It turned out that the traditional risk factors were still relevant, but so were two others, which researchers believe are critical in assessing heart-disease risk in men as well as women.
Says Dr. Paul Ridker, "This is important because we now have a simple and inexpensive way to correctly classify women's risk and therefore get the right drugs to the right women" to prevent heart disease.
The outcome of this investigation is a Reynolds Risk Score calculator that can be used by doctors to judge a woman's 10-year risk score for developing coronary diseases.
Says Roger Blumenthal, of Johns Hopkins Hospital,in Baltimore "Future multivariable models to predict a woman's long-term (20 to 30 years) risk of developing a major atherosclerotic vascular disease event are also needed. The Reynolds Risk Score is an important contribution to preventive cardiology and provides the framework for evaluating future emerging risk factors."