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Software may predict heart attack risk

A new computer program can help predict patients’ risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke over 10 years, doctors said.
/ Source: Reuters

A new computer program can help predict patients’ risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke over 10 years, doctors said on Friday.

The HeartScore program developed by the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) assesses individual risk factors such as high blood pressure, cholesterol levels and smoking and the patient’s gender and age to give a personal risk profile.

Unlike printed risk charts which give total risk, the HeartScore program allows doctors and patients to view changing risk factors. So if a smoker gives up the habit it will be reflected in the program.

“HeartScore is an excellent tool to help doctors better predict and discuss risk factors with their patients,” Professor Jean-Pierre Bassand, president of the ESC, said in a statement.

The program incorporates data on 210,000 patients from 12 European studies and reflects the lower risk of heart disease in countries such as Spain, Italy and France. National versions of HeartScore could be developed in the future, according to the society.

“Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in Europe, and what’s worse is that much of it can be prevented or at least delayed by improvements in lifestyle factors,” said Bassand.

Doctors can download the program free of charge from the ECS Web site at www.escardio.org/HeartScore. The ECS comprises 47 national cardiac societies across Europe.