Early signs of cardiovascular disease detected in asymptomatic individuals in need of treatment

October 02, 2003

MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL (Sept. 30, 2003) -- Individuals without any symptoms of cardiovascular disease may be in need of treatment, according to Jay Cohn, M.D., professor of medicine and director of the University of Minnesota Rasmussen Center for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention. In an article published in October's issue of the American Heart Journal, Cohn explains that a battery of non-invasive tests may be able to detect early signs of cardiovascular disease before any symptoms develop.

"Thirty-nine percent of the examined individuals exhibited cardiovascular abnormalities potentially in need of drug therapy to slow disease progression," said Cohn. Recent data suggest that 90 percent of heart attacks and strokes could be prevented by effective treatment, he added. This study looked at the results of 396 individuals, although since then the Rasmussen Center has screened 300 additional individuals.

The Rasmussen Center provides 10 non-invasive tests to identify the earliest stages of blood vessel and heart disease that could be the causes of future deaths. "Since effective treatment to slow progression of the disease is now available," Cohn said, "early recognition and treatment is the best strategy to improve quality and duration of life and to reduce health care costs."

Individuals screened at the Rasmussen Center are primarily self-referred. "This does not represent a cross-section of our community," Cohn said. "But it emphasizes that even in this health-conscious group of people with full access to the health care system, early disease is not being recognized or treated."

The screening visit at the Rasmussen Center takes two hours and also includes measurement of other risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease. Most of the tests may be covered by health insurance, depending on the policy and the carrier.

University of Minnesota

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