New screening questionnaire can identify people at high risk of developing heart disease

November 13, 2020

Embargoed until 12:30 p.m. CT/1:30 p.m. CT, Friday, Nov. 13, 2020

DALLAS, Nov. 13, 2020 -- More than 40% of middle-aged adults have silent coronary artery disease. Researchers have developed a new screening questionnaire to help identify individuals at the highest risk for coronary artery disease, according to late-breaking research presented today at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2020. The virtual meeting is Friday, November 13-Tuesday, November 17, 2020. It is a premier global exchange of the latest scientific advancements, research and evidence-based clinical practice updates in cardiovascular science for health care.

Coronary artery disease is caused by atherosclerosis, or deposits of fats, cholesterol and calcium in the blood vessels that supply blood to the heart. Early detection of coronary artery disease is possible by imaging blood vessels using coronary computed tomography angiography (CCTA) imaging; however, it can be expensive and requires specialized equipment.

"The buildup of plaque does not cause symptoms in the early phases of atherosclerosis yet may lead to reduced blood flow to the heart and result in a heart attack," said Göran Bergström, M.D., Ph.D., professor and lead physician at Sahlgrenska Academy, Gothenburg University, Gothenburg, Sweden and lead author of this study. "We investigated whether a personalized screening strategy using data easily measured at home could predict which patients are at high risk of developing heart disease."

The Swedish CArdioPulmonary BioImage Study (SCAPIS) included more than 30,000 men and women, ages 50-64 years, who had no history of prior heart attack or cardiac intervention. Participants were asked questions about gender, age, smoking, body measurements, cholesterol medication and blood pressure to predict their risk of coronary artery disease.

Researchers then used CCTA images to examine patients' arteries for the presence of plaque. More than 25,000 individuals from the original sample were successfully imaged. The imaging results found that silent coronary artery disease was common, with 42% of participants having plaque in their coronary arteries. A higher prevalence of atherosclerosis was observed in men and in older individuals.

In this Swedish cohort, responses to the screening questions successfully predicted which individuals had severe atherosclerosis and were at higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

"We were surprised that atherosclerosis was so widespread and that we could rather easily predict it with simple questions," Bergstrom said. "Our study lays the foundation for development of a home-based screening strategy to help combat cardiovascular disease. We can find people at high risk of having silent coronary artery disease using a simple screening questionnaire followed by a clinical visit to a health-care facility to define the risk further using CCTA imaging."

This study is the first report from SCAPIS, a collaborative project between six Swedish universities with the vision statement: to reduce the risk of cardiovascular and respiratory diseases for generations to come.
Co-authors are Martin Adiels, Ph.D.; Elias Björnsson, M.Sc.; Anders Blomberg, M.D., Ph.D.; Carl Bonander, Ph.D.; Gunnar Engström, M.D., Ph.D.; Margaretha Persson, Ph.D.; Johan Sundström, M.D., Ph.D.; Carl Johan Östgren, M.D., Ph.D.; and Tomas Jernberg, M.D., Ph.D. Author disclosures are listed in the abstract.

The researchers reported funding from the Swedish Heart and Lung Foundation.

Session: LBS.02 - Bending the Curve for CV Disease - Precision or PolyPill?

Additional Resources:

Multimedia is available on the right column of the release link

Heart disease awareness decline spotlights urgency to reach younger women and women of color
Studies highlight need to prioritize value in health care

For more news at AHA Scientific Sessions 2020, follow us on Twitter @HeartNews

Statements and conclusions of studies that are presented at the American Heart Association's scientific meetings are solely those of the study authors and do not necessarily reflect the Association's policy or position. The Association makes no representation or guarantee as to their accuracy or reliability. The Association receives funding primarily from individuals; foundations and corporations (including pharmaceutical, device manufacturers and other companies) also make donations and fund specific Association programs and events. The Association has strict policies to prevent these relationships from influencing the science content. Revenues from pharmaceutical and biotech companies, device manufacturers and health insurance providers are available here, and the Association's overall financial information is available here.

About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is a leading force for a world of longer, healthier lives. With nearly a century of lifesaving work, the Dallas-based association is dedicated to ensuring equitable health for all. We are a trustworthy source empowering people to improve their heart health, brain health and well-being. We collaborate with numerous organizations and millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, advocate for stronger public health policies, and share lifesaving resources and information. Connect with us on, Facebook, Twitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.

American Heart Association

Related Heart Attack Articles from Brightsurf:

Top Science Tip Sheet on heart failure, heart muscle cells, heart attack and atrial fibrillation results
Newly discovered pathway may have potential for treating heart failure - New research model helps predict heart muscle cells' impact on heart function after injury - New mass spectrometry approach generates libraries of glycans in human heart tissue - Understanding heart damage after heart attack and treatment may provide clues for prevention - Understanding atrial fibrillation's effects on heart cells may help find treatments - New research may lead to therapy for heart failure caused by ICI cancer medication

Molecular imaging identifies link between heart and kidney inflammation after heart attack
Whole body positron emission tomography (PET) has, for the first time, illustrated the existence of inter-organ communication between the heart and kidneys via the immune system following acute myocardial infarction.

Muscle protein abundant in the heart plays key role in blood clotting during heart attack
A prevalent heart protein known as cardiac myosin, which is released into the body when a person suffers a heart attack, can cause blood to thicken or clot--worsening damage to heart tissue, a new study shows.

New target identified for repairing the heart after heart attack
An immune cell is shown for the first time to be involved in creating the scar that repairs the heart after damage.

Heart cells respond to heart attack and increase the chance of survival
The heart of humans and mice does not completely recover after a heart attack.

A simple method to improve heart-attack repair using stem cell-derived heart muscle cells
The heart cannot regenerate muscle after a heart attack, and this can lead to lethal heart failure.

Mount Sinai discovers placental stem cells that can regenerate heart after heart attack
Study identifies new stem cell type that can significantly improve cardiac function.

Fixing a broken heart: Exploring new ways to heal damage after a heart attack
The days immediately following a heart attack are critical for survivors' longevity and long-term healing of tissue.

Heart patch could limit muscle damage in heart attack aftermath
Guided by computer simulations, an international team of researchers has developed an adhesive patch that can provide support for damaged heart tissue, potentially reducing the stretching of heart muscle that's common after a heart attack.

How the heart sends an SOS signal to bone marrow cells after a heart attack
Exosomes are key to the SOS signal that the heart muscle sends out after a heart attack.

Read More: Heart Attack News and Heart Attack Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to