We welcome frank and open discussion of the facts, but reject the efforts of those who would delay the implementation of the most powerful screening tools for coronary artery disease currently available
Houston, TX (PRWEB) October 2, 2007
The Society for Heart Attack Prevention and Eradication (SHAPE) announced today several public education efforts to further the cause of preventive heart attack screening. The announcement coincides with an op-ed piece published in the prestigious Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine entitled: Vulnerable patients are between a 'ROC and a hard place'.
"We welcome frank and open discussion of the facts, but reject the efforts of those who would delay the implementation of the most powerful screening tools for coronary artery disease currently available," said Dr. Morteza Naghavi, co-author of the editorial and Founder of SHAPE. "We look forward to honest scientific debates during our upcoming symposia at the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology conventions. Heart attack is not an earthquake; it can be predicted and thereby prevented."
The editorial is the latest in the vibrant and at times hot debate sparked by the publication of the SHAPE Guideline. The SHAPE Guideline calls for all apparently healthy men 45-75y and women 55-75y (except those with a very low risk factor profile) to be screened for atherosclerosis (plaque buildup in the heart and arteries).
The organization also launched, The SHAPE Blog, an online forum dedicated to discussion of atherosclerotic plaque, vulnerable patients and the fight against heart attack.
"The ongoing debate on which apparently healthy adults should be considered for atherosclerosis imaging or measurement of biomarkers is moving the medical community in the right direction," said Dr. Roger Blumenthal of the Cardiology Division of Johns Hopkins Hospital. "Traditional risk assessment ignores family history of heart disease, triglyceride levels, dietary and exercise habits. The SHAPE Guideline allows clinicians to better identify 'vulnerable patients,' individuals who are at very high risk of a near future heart attack."
Heart attack and stroke account for more death and disability than all cancers combined. Unlike cancers, heart attack strikes more than half of its victims by sudden death. More than 600,000 Americans unexpectedly suffer heart attacks each year, over 200,000 of which die in the span of an hour.
Multiple screening tests are approved for sub-clinical (asymptomatic) cancers such as mammography and colonoscopy. However, none are approved for sub-clinical atherosclerosis, which underlies both heart attack and stroke. This void leaves many individuals - even those with severe atherosclerosis - totally unaware of their risk because they have no symptoms.
A common objection to mass screening of pre-symptomatic individuals is cost effectiveness. However Dr. Alan Boyar's recent calculations, published in the American Journal of Cardiology, estimate that the National Cholesterol Education Program's annual gross cost is estimated at $12 .3 billion, preventing some 250,000 cardiac events and 15,000 deaths. His analysis determined that SHAPE Guideline's estimated annual gross cost is $13.3 billion. His analysis determined that the SHAPE Guideline could prevent as many as 400,000 cardiac events and 24,000 deaths per year.
SHAPE's mission is to eradicate heart attack by promoting effective tools for prevention while advancing the scientific quest for a cure. Additional information is available on the organization's website: http://www.shapesociety.org or call 1-877-SHAPE11.