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Screening for heart disease 'should be for over 55s'

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Preventive treatment for heart disease and stroke should be offered to everyone aged over 55, according to a new study.

Researchers from Barts and the London Medical School said the blanket approach would save time and money.

Screening procedures currently used involve examining results from blood and cholesterol tests, before deciding who receives such treatments.

The study involved two screening programmes on a theoretical population of 500,000 people. The results showed that offering all over-55s preventive treatment led to an 84% detection rate.

However, the same detection rate was experienced from the programme where screening methods that take into account factors like age, sex, if someone smokes or has high blood pressure or cholesterol, were employed.

The researchers said that while the success rates were the same, the age-based method would be more cost-effective.

Professor Sir Nicholas Wald said: “This study shows that age screening for future cardiovascular disease is simpler than current assessments, with a similar screening performance and cost effectiveness. It also avoids the need for blood tests and medical examinations.”

The study was, published in the open access journal PLoS ONE.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • good for those known to be at risk but some may prefer to get on with their lives instead of running from one investigation to another with all the worry and additional stress this may cause them to see if various systems of their body are healthy and will hold out for a while, whilst tests for other systems and organs are neglected through lack of availability. is there any point of having regular scans of one or two organs and then contracting disease in an other and possibly dying from it or shortening life or dying from side effects from prophylactic treatments.

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