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Heart disease score to help with diagnosis

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A new lifetime “score” has been developed by university researchers, designed to help clinicians diagnose heart disease in young people before any damage is done.

The health records of around two and a half million people were used to create the score, which takes into account social deprivation levels and ethnicity.

The findings of the research, conducted at the University of Nottingham, have been published in the British Medical Journal.

Julia Hippisley-Cox, professor of clinical epidemiology and general practice at the university, said: “This new score has the potential to identify younger people who have a high risk over the course of their lifetime, who are currently not picked up by the more conventional 10-year risk scores.

“By identifying people at a younger age, GPs will have more chance of intervening before heart disease sets in, to help reduce their lifetime risk through treatments and lifestyle advice.”

Using the Qresearch database, Professor Hippisley-Cox, together with experts from Queen Mary’s school of medicine and dentistry in London and the Avon Primary Care Research Collaborative in Bristol, have been able to produce a model based on a large, ethnically diverse population.

The information could be updated to take into account improvements in data quality and be refined over time to reflect trends in population characteristics, changes in clinical requirements and improved methods for communicating cardiovascular risk to patients.

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