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New Heart Disease and Stroke App Available for Doctors

Update Date: Feb 19, 2014 01:19 PM EST

Health care professionals can now use a new mobile app when assessing their patients' risks of developing certain diseases. The app, released by the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association (AHA), is capable of estimating an individual's 10-year and lifetime risks of getting atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD), which is a huge contributor of heart attack, and ischemic stroke.

"We are pleased the risk assessment guidelines are now available in easy to access tools," said Mariell Jessup, MD, president of the AHA reported by Medical Xpress. "The guidelines were broadened late last year to include the assessment for risk of stroke as well as heart attack. This app incorporates the stroke risk as well as the new gender- and ethnicity-specific formulas for predicting risk in African-American and white women and men found in the guidelines, and it looks beyond traditional short-term (10-year) risk estimates to predict an individual's lifetime risk of developing heart disease and having a stroke."

The app, called the ASCVD Risk Estimator, mimics an excel-based calculator. It can be accessed either on the phone or on the web. The app uses the Cardiovascular Risk Guideline that was released by the two associations back in November 2013. It takes into account an individual's age, sex, race, overall cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, systolic blood pressure and diabetes condition. The app also factors in the patient's habits, such as smoking and any medication use particularly for lowering blood pressure.

"This tool is meant to facilitate a conversation between the health care provider and the patient about the patient's risk of heart attack and stroke and how best to reduce those risks," said John G. Harold, MD, MACC, president of the American College of Cardiology. "While we hope the app will make the risk assessment guidelines more accessible, it is not a substitute for face-to-face engagement. It is a tool to help health professionals and patients work together as part of a discussion of the patient's medical history and lifestyle."

The app also helps doctors decide on whether or not statin therapy could be beneficial for the patient. It is available for free on mobile phones and can be accessed via CardioSource.org and myamericanheart.org.

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