About this Series

For more than two decades, specialists have well understood the importance of assessing patient risk for atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, but researchers in the preventive medicine field still have far to go in pinpointing optimal criteria for determining that risk. Using guidelines and risk calculators, physicians are able to identify where a patient's risk falls on risk-stratification scales.

Despite that, experts say that more insight is needed to inform treatment decisions and weigh pharmacologic therapies against lifestyle intervention. Indeed, patients identified as having event risk below 7.5% account for nearly a quarter of all deaths from cardiovascular disease. It's clear that additional determinants are needed to discover hidden risk factors in cardiovascular disease that go beyond traditional measurements such as age, sex, cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes, and smoking.

Researchers and physicians from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and New York University School of Medicine are pursuing new approaches to determining more accurate risk scores, with the hope of uncovering factors that may reclassify patients and thus redirect treatment decisions.

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