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SHAPE Applauds U.S Preventive Services Task Force for Seeking the Truth about Coronary Artery Calcium

Evidence is Clear that Preventive Screening Tests for Coronary Artery Calcium Can Prevent Heart Attacks

SHAPE, The Society for Heart Attack Prevention and Eradication (http://www.shapesociety.org), a nonprofit grassroots organization dedicated to the mission of eradicating heart attacks, today submitted a letter to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) strongly supporting the use of coronary artery calcium to assess an individual’s risk of heart attack. The USPSTF is currently accepting public comment for its “Draft Research Plan for Cardiovascular Disease: Risk Assessment Using Nontraditional Risk Factors.” Coronary artery calcium is among the nontraditional risk factors being considered.

Traditional risk assessment methods that rely solely on the Framingham Risk Score have proven to be suboptimal in the individual patient, as evidenced by the fact that 525,000 Americans suffer a first heart attack annually, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Had they been evaluated the day before their heart attack by the traditional risk assessment method (Framingham Risk Score which relies on age sex, cholesterol blood pressure, smoking, etc.) the majority would fall in the Low to Intermediate Risk categories. This is unacceptable.

SHAPE advocates using non-invasive screening tests to determine an individual’s coronary artery calcium score. The approach is modeled after successful screening protocols for breast and colorectal cancers once women and men reach a certain age.

“By relying on traditional risk assessment, many high risk and “vulnerable patients” are left unaware or inadequately treated, and many low risk individuals are inappropriately targeted for treatment, which burdens our healthcare system,” stated the SHAPE letter. The letter was signed by the Chairwoman of the SHAPE Board of Directors, JoAnne Zawitoski, SHAPE Scientific Chairman, P.K. Shah, M.D. and the founder of SHAPE and Executive Chairman of the SHAPE Task Force, Morteza Naghavi, M.D.

SHAPE urged the USPSTF to review the work of the SHAPE Task Force, which has explored the advantages and limitations of various traditional and nontraditional methods of assessing risk of heart attack. This work, stretching back more than a decade, has included 15 scientific symposia and over 50 scientific publications on the topic the USPSTF is now examining.

The USPSTF is an independent, volunteer panel of national experts in prevention and evidence-based medicine that works to improve the health of all Americans by making evidence-based recommendations about clinical preventive services such as screenings, counseling services and preventive medications.

About SHAPE

Based in Houston, the Society for Heart Attack Prevention and Eradication (SHAPE) is a non-profit organization that promotes education and research related to prevention, detection, and treatment of heart attacks. SHAPE is committed to raising public awareness about revolutionary discoveries that are opening exciting avenues to prevent heart attacks. SHAPE's mission is to eradicate heart attacks in the 21st century. Additional information is available on the organization's Web site at www.shapesociety.org.

About SHAPE Task Force

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 can be a matter of life and death. Additional information is available by calling 1-877-SHAPE11. And additional information is available at http://www.shapesociety.org.

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, M.D., Ph.D., 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., Nathan D. Wong, Ph.D.

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

Chair of SHAPE Board of Directors: JoAnne Zawitoski, J.D.

SHAPE Task Force Public Relations: Daniel Keeney, APR

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

SHAPE Board Executive Secretary: Brenda Garrett Superko, CVRN

More Stories By Daniel Keeney

Dan Keeney is the president of DPK Public Relations, which represents PULSE, The Aldridge Company, Schipul - The Web Marketing Company, Society for Heart Attack Prevention and Eradication, ERHC Energy, Saint Arnold Brewing Company, Arocha Hair Restoration among other companies. Specialties include helping organizations increase their positive visibility and establish and strengthen relationships with influencers in their markets.

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