Tag PLos ONE

Screening for cardiovascular disease by age alone?

Researchers have insinuated that predicating heart and circulatory disease events could be best done purely on the basis of age, and that all older members of the population should be offered preventative treatments.

The study published on the 4th of May by Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry suggests that predicting cardiovascular events in those over 55 is as good as using the current Framingham screening system, which involves testing for other risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease i.e. blood pressure and high cholesterol.

This study has lead to controversy with the British Heart Foundation (BHF) offering a viewpoint on the study. It is pointed out that using only age, as a predictive factor for cardiovascular disease would miss those at risk in younger age groups. These are patients who may have a family history of heart or circulatory disease and are for this reason more likely to suffer cardiovascular disease themselves.

This view is followed up with the statement that those with other risk factors such as high cholesterol and blood pressure at the age of 40-55 could be treated to prevent heart and circulatory disease before it takes place. This would also make economic sense for the National Health Service (NHS). This point is strengthened by the lack of evidence to suggest that everyone of a certain age should be offered treatment such as statins.

Study published in the Journal PLoS ONE