Simpler CVD Risk Criteria Found Effective

In a large population study that was the first of its kind, researchers found that the Fuster-BEWAT score, a simple tool not requiring laboratory tests, is as effective as the American Heart Association-recommended Ideal Cardiovascular Health Index (ICHS), which includes blood analysis of cholesterol and glucose.

The Fuster-BEWAT score evaluates five health indicators: blood pressure, physical activity, BMI, fruit and vegetable intake, and smoking status, and doesn't require a blood test. These results demonstrate the usefulness of the Fuster-BEWAT score as an index of subclinical atherosclerosis.

The study was published online in The Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
The study, carried out at the Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Cardiovasculares Carlos III (CNIC) in Madrid, Spain, demonstrates that the Fuster-BEWAT score effectively predicts the presence and extent of subclinical (asymptomatic) atherosclerosis in healthy middle-aged individuals with no known history of CVD. Moreover, Fuster-BEWAT predictions are as accurate as those obtained with the widely used ICHS.

Previous studies, such as the PURE study, coordinated by Salim Yusuf, MD, and recently published in The Lancet, already had indicated that blood analysis sometimes can be omitted from cardiovascular risk calculations, a particular advantage in regions with limited health care resources.

Researchers from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, CNIC, and other institutions studied 3,983 middle-aged participants without previous CVD who were employees of the Banco de Santander in Madrid. This is an ongoing observational prospective cohort study in which participants are being followed for 10 years. The results demonstrate the usefulness of the Fuster-BEWAT score for evaluating cardiovascular risk in situations where it isn't possible to obtain blood samples.

"The Fuster-BEWAT score may be particularly relevant in low-resource areas, such as developing countries, where the burden of cardiovascular disease is growing faster than in the rest of the world," says the study's corresponding author, Valentin Fuster, MD, PhD, director of Mount Sinai Heart and physician-in-chief of The Mount Sinai Hospital. "The Fuster-BEWAT score is an easy, painless, inexpensive tool that could be implemented in resource-constrained health care settings to identify individuals with a high likelihood of subclinical atherosclerosis at whom preventative management strategies can be directed."

The study is part of an international initiative that's being conducted through partnerships with the National Center for Cardiovascular Research in Spain, the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and the Framingham Heart Study.

Follow-up studies in the research cohort will investigate whether participants showing ideal ICHS and Fuster-BEWAT metrics have less progression of subclinical atherosclerosis and lower incidence of clinical events over time.

— Source: Mount Sinai Health System