SHAPE Task Force Calls Attention to New Study Published in JAMA Supporting SHAPE Guidelines

Study Shows Direct Imaging of Coronary Atherosclerosis is a Better Predictor of Heart Attack and Stroke Risk than Measuring Risk Factors such as Cholesterol and Blood Pressure

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Houston, Texas (PRWEB) September 04, 2012

SHAPE, the Society for Heart Attack Prevention and Eradication (http://www.shapesociety.org), a nonprofit organization that promotes early detection and preventive intervention to reduce heart attack risk, today announced that the SHAPE Task Force is highlighting the results of a newly published JAMA article from a longitudinal study funded by the National Institutes of Health. The study clearly indicates the superiority of noninvasive imaging of atherosclerosis over the traditional method of measuring risk factors of atherosclerosis such as serum cholesterol, blood pressure, smoking, diabetes etc. The SHAPE Task Force is an international group of leading cardiologists and cardiovascular researchers who share the belief that healthcare providers can do more, using non-invasive imaging tests, to assess and reduce an asymptomatic individual’s heart attack risk.

The Society for Heart Attack Prevention and Eradication recently commenced deliberations aimed at updating and refining the SHAPE Guideline for heart attack risk prediction. These videos offer insight into the discussions that are underway.

“When we first introduced the SHAPE Guidelines we knew our group was pushing the envelope and it was clear to us why it was needed, as risk factor-based risk assessment was clearly insufficient.” said Dr PK Shah, Director of Atherosclerosis Research Center at Cedars Sinai and professor of medicine at UCLA who chaired the SHAPE Scientific Board. “We are pleased to see the increasing number of studies supporting SHAPE Guidelines.”

The publication of the First SHAPE Guidelines was a major breakthrough in preventive cardiology. Published in the American Journal of Cardiology in 2006, it was the first guideline for screening asymptomatic population to identify high risk individuals with hidden atherosclerosis (plaque build in arteries). The First SHAPE Guidelines established standards for the careful and responsible implementation of scientifically proven atherosclerosis tests to detect hidden plaque build-up in coronary and carotid arteries, and recommended the tests be incorporated into routine screening for asymptomatic (apparently healthy) men and women as they age. The SHAPE Task Force is also monitoring and evaluating scientific and clinical advances on an ongoing basis and is expected to integrate these advances into an updated Second SHAPE II Guidelines.

As before, the Second SHAPE Guidelines are expected to address the following: what portion of the population should have an atherosclerosis screening; what tests for the detection of atherosclerosis currently fulfill stringent criteria to be recommended and which one should be conducted first; how to stratify the severity of an individual patient’s heart attack risk based on the outcomes of the atherosclerosis screening; and what patient care objectives should be considered based on individual risk severity.

Heart attack and stroke account for more death and disability than all cancers combined. The SHAPE Task Force believes scientifically proven screening tests for subclinical atherosclerosis, which can trigger lethal heart attacks and stroke, deserve the same recognition and standardized use as routine screening tests for subclinical cancers such as mammography and colonoscopy.

“SHAPE strives to bring innovation empowered by new technologies to preventive cardiology,” said Mathew Budoff, a leading member of the SHAPE Task Force and Director of Cardiovascular Imaging Laboratory at UCLA Harbor Medical School. “Obviously we are delighted to see the JAMA publication but our job is far from done! We need to make sure physicians worldwide, particularly primary care physicians, are aware of SHAPE Guidelines and implement them to provide better patient care. Heart attack is a failure of medical and should viewed as such.”

The medical establishment has traditionally been slow to adopt atherosclerosis screening tests, instead relying on traditional risk factors to identify those at risk for heart attack. The latter approach has only been partially effective as evidenced by continued high mortality due to heart attacks and stroke, estimated by the CDC to be approximately 800,000 annually. Moreover, nearly 50 percent of heart attack victims are unaware they have a build-up of plaque because it is not checked, and these individuals who have asymptomatic atherosclerosis do not have chest pain or any other cardiac symptoms, and most of them do not have alarmingly high cholesterol and blood pressure. The majority of heart attack victims are like this and are struck totally unexpectedly, sadly many of them die before seeing an ambulance and most of the remaining survivors will suffer from a debilitating heart failure years later.

Meanwhile, advances in medical technology have removed numerous obstacles to the validation and adoption of recommended atherosclerosis screening tests. The SHAPE Task Force particularly notes the new findings from the ground breaking Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) that has clearly substantiated the predictive value of the atherosclerosis screening tests particularly coronary calcium scoring which is an integral part of the SHAPE Guidelines.

“I am delighted to be working with such a noted and visionary group of clinicians and researchers whose vision created the SHAPE Guidelines years ago and predicted the significance of noninvasive imaging for the prevention of heart attacks and stroke” said Richard (Dick) Hellner, the National CEO of SHAPE. “I would like to echo Professor Budoff’s sentiment that our job is really just beginning. We will continue our efforts to achieve SHAPE’s critical mission to eradicate heart attacks”.

To view videos of interviews with SHAPE Task Force participants, visit http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=1B0A14FAB1DBDAE5.

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About SHAPE:

The Society for Heart Attack Prevention and Eradication (SHAPE) is a tax-exempt organization founded by Dr Morteza Naghavi, former faculty member of the Texas Heart Institute and the University of Texas in Houston. SHAPE promotes education and research related to early detection, prevention and treatment of arterial plaque, the underlying cause of heart attacks. SHAPE is committed to raising public awareness about noninvasive, cost effective screening programs that detect potential heart problems in asymptomatic populations. Additional information is available at http://www.shapesociety.org. For more information about how to get involved with SHAPE and become a volunteer please email volunteers(at)shapesociety(dot)org or call 713-529-4484.

About SHAPE Task Force:

The SHAPE Task Force includes the following:
Morteza Naghavi, M.D. – Executive Chairman
PK Shah, M.D. – Chair of Scientific Board
Erling Falk, M.D., Ph.D. – Chief of Editorial Committee

SHAPE Task Force Members:

Daniel S. Berman, M.D., Matthew J. Budoff, M.D., Jay N. Cohn, M.D., Michael H. Davidson, M.D., Jim Ehrlich, M.D., Raimund Erbel, M.D., Erling Falk, M.D., Ph.D., Steven B. Feinstein, M.D., Kirk Geter, D.P.M., Craig Hartley, Ph.D., Harvey S. Hecht, M.D., Howard Hodis, M.D., Ioannis A. Kakadiaris, PhD., Sanjay Kaul, M.D., M.P.H., Iftikhar J. Kullo, M.D., Daniel Lane, M.D., Ph.D., Marge Lovell, R.N., Ralph Metcalfe, Ph.D., Tasneem Z. Naqvi, M.D., Morteza Naghavi, M.D., Paolo Raggi, M.D., George P. Rodgers, M.D., John A. Rumberger, PhD, M.D., Robert S. Schwartz, M.D.,PK Shah, M.D., , Leslee Shaw, Ph.D., Henrik Sillesen, M.D., Ph.D.
David Spence, M.D., H. Robert Superko, M.D., Pierre-Jean Touboul, M.D.

Distinguished SHAPE Task Force Advisors:

Valentin Fuster, M.D., Ph.D.

SHAPE Centers of Excellence Executive Manager:

Jeff Fine, M.S., Ph.D.


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