According to the U.S. Centers of Disease Control (CDC), heart disease is linked to over 600,000 deaths in the United States each year. Around 735,000 heart attacks are reported annually, with nearly three-quarters noted as the first time for a patient.
While cardiovascular disease is classified as the nation’s leading killer, more often than not, the first sign is a major heart attack. Some heart attacks victims do not exhibit symptoms and even those that do, physicians often don’t act to lesser blockages. These individuals could be at risk as well, according to a new research study.
A Johns Hopkins cardiologist partnered with other heart experts to develop a new assessment tool. The tool is designed to better consider risk of having a fatal heart attack.
“There is strong evidence to show these patients are at risk when their arteries are less than 50 percent blocked,” said Dr. Armin Zadeh, an associate professor of medicine and member of the Heart and Vascular Institute in the Hopkins’ School of Medicine. “These patients are at risk and we’re not capturing them.”
The 50-percent mark calls for a treatment with statins and aspirins. Zadeh and several cardiac experts from New York’s Mount Sinai Health System decided to assess death rates from patients with lesser blockages. The findings showed that lesser blockages had the same risk of dying.
The new scale consists of five stages that will promote earlier treatment. Cardiovascular disease is when the arteries fill up with cholesterol, fat and other substances. When these substances begin to harden, it will narrow the arteries, limiting blow flow to the heart. The heart becomes starved of oxygen, when a piece of the plaque breaks off and forms a cloth or when there is a full blockage.