SHAPE Introduces New Bill in Texas Legislature to Raise Awareness for Prevention of Heart Disease at DPS Offices

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The bill provides the opportunity for Texans to check their blood pressure and assess their risk of heart disease when applying for or renewing a driver license

At a press conference held today at the state Capitol in Austin, the Society for Heart Attack Prevention and Eradication (SHAPE) announced that it helped introduce a bill in the Texas legislature to increase public awareness of heart attack and stroke prevention. The legislation would provide a free blood pressure check for drivers license applicants at the Texas Department of Public Safety Offices (DPS).

In addition, a questionnaire-based assessment of their cardiovascular risk factors would be completed that utilizes the National Institutes of Health’s Framingham Risk Scoring system. The Risk Scoring system is based on an individual’s blood pressure, cholesterol, smoking, and diabetes history and calculates a statistical probability of having a heart attack or stroke in the next 10 years.

“This legislation is intended to raise public awareness about the importance of knowing your cardiovascular risk by incorporating a simple heart attack risk-scoring test into the driver's license application process which would be implemented in addition to the eye vision test already being used at Texas Department of Public Safety offices” said Richard Hellner, CEO of SHAPE.

SHAPE, a non-profit organization that promotes innovative strategies for early detection and preventive intervention to reduce heart attack and stroke risk, announced today that it has teamed up with Representative Harold Dutton of the 142nd District of Harris County, TX to raise public awareness of heart disease and foster heart health.

“Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. It has been the number one killer in this country for too long. Doing what we have done in the past is not enough; we must adopt new strategies.” said Morteza Naghavi, M.D. the founder of SHAPE and Executive Chairman of the SHAPE Task Force.

According to Dr. Naghavi, statistical data show that traffic accidents from all causes are the fourth largest killer of Americans, behind heart and lung disease and cancers. Moreover, there's a growing body of evidence that suggests in the category of driver-initiated accidents, cardiovascular-related events are second only to driver error. Moreover, half of the accidents caused by heart attacks and stroke occur in drivers with no previous awareness of their condition. A simple Google News search for heart attacks and car accidents sheds light on the high frequency of heart attack induced fatal crashes.

Click here to view heart attack induced car crashes on Google Web

The Texas Bill can be found online:

Click below to read: The_Benefit_of_Screening_for_Cardiovascular_Disease_in_the_Drivers_License_Application_Process

For more information contact Dick Hellner at dick(dot)hellner(at)shapesociety(dot)org or 404-889-2055


The Society for Heart Attack Prevention & Eradication (SHAPE) is a nonprofit organization created to promote public education and to support research related to early detection, prevention and treatment of atherosclerosis (arterial plaques), the most prevalent underlying cause of heart attacks. SHAPE is committed to raising public awareness on the shortfalls of the status quo, which grossly fails to detect the Vulnerable Patient. A Vulnerable Patient is defined as a healthy-looking individual who has significant atherosclerosis and is at a high risk of heart attack, but has no sign or symptom and therefore is unaware of his or her risk. These individuals are the ones who suddenly experience a heart attack and die with a sudden cardiac death within an hour. Most of them do not have an alarming level of cholesterol or blood pressure.


The SHAPE Task Force, an international group of leading cardiovascular physicians and researchers, has created the SHAPE Guidelines, which educates physicians how to identify asymptomatic atherosclerosis (hidden plaques) and implement proper therapies to prevent a future heart attack. According to the SHAPE Guidelines, individuals with high risk atherosclerosis (high plaque score) should be treated even if their cholesterol level is within the so called “normal range”. Knowing one's plaque score is important. In fact, it can be a matter of life and death! Additional information is available by calling 1-877-SHAPE11. And additional information is available at

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 (alphabetic order):

Arthur Agatston, M.D., Daniel S. Berman, M.D., Matthew J. Budoff, M.D., Raimund Erbel, M.D., Erling Falk, M.D., Ph.D., Sergio Fazio, MD, PhD, Steven B. Feinstein, M.D., Craig Hartley, Ph.D., Harvey S. Hecht, M.D., Howard Hodis, M.D., Ioannis Kakadiaris, Ph.D., Sanjay Kaul, M.D., M.P.H., Asher Kimchi. M.D., Wolfgang Koenig, M.D., Ph.D., Iftikhar J. Kullo, M.D., Daniel Lane, M.D., Ph.D., Roxana Mehran, M.D., Ralph Metcalfe, Ph.D., Morteza Naghavi, M.D., Tasneem Z. Naqvi, M.D., Jagat Narula, M.D., Paolo Raggi, M.D., George P. Rodgers, M.D., James HF Rudd, Ph.D., Robert S. Schwartz, M.D., PK Shah, M.D., Leslee Shaw, M.D., David Spence, M.D., H. Robert Superko, M.D., Henrik Sillesen, M.D., Ph.D., Pierre-Jean Touboul, M.D.

Distinguished SHAPE Task Force Advisor: Valentin Fuster, M.D., Ph.D.

Chair of SHAPE Board of Directors: JoAnne Zawitoski

SHAPE Task Force Executive Coordinator and SHAPE CEO: Richard (Dick) Hellner

Executive Director of SHAPE Center of Excellence: Jeff Fine, Ph.D.

Chair of SHAPE Society Cardiology Club: Brenda Garrett Superko

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