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News Release

ESC launches upgraded risk measurement tool for heart attacks and strokes

28 August 2011 European Society of Cardiology (ESC)

The number of heart attack and stroke incidents in Europe is likely to reduce with the imminent launch of an update to the HeartScore® application.  HeartScore® was first developed by the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) in 2004, and it helps clinicians rapidly estimate the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in individual patients using age, gender, basic health indicators, and lifestyle factors.  The results from the model are then used to shape intervention and advice regimes aimed at lowering CVD risk.  Following feedback, HeartScore® has been updated to incorporate a number of new features that will enhance its value as part of CVD prevention strategies. 

Professor Ian Graham is Chair of the Prevention Implementation Committee of the ESC’s European Association of Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation (EACPR), and is project leader for HeartScore®. “This important update continues our work to develop a practical tool for accessible CVD risk estimation,” he says.  “Clinicians have told us that, above all, they want accurate, fast and simple information that is relevant to them and their patients.  I am confident that this new release of HeartScore® will meet those needs and benefit patients everywhere.”

Three variants of the updated HeartScore® will be formally released at the 2011 ESC Congress in Paris (26 – 30 August). These are European models for both high and low risk, and a variant for France – the 15th national version to be developed.  The new features include:

•    A refinement that allows clinicians the option to enter the actual HDL cholesterol level rather than the combined HDL/LDL cholesterol level – this step improves the accuracy of the model, especially in marginal cases
•    A ‘fast track’ calculator in which Body Mass Index (BMI) replaces blood pressure and cholesterol inputs – this is intended only for when blood pressure and cholesterol are not available and provides only a preliminary assessment
•    A ‘risk age’ function that determines the theoretical age of a person exposed to the same range and level of risk factors – this will help patients quickly understand their exposure to overall CVD risk 

Around 26,000 medical professionals across Europe are already using HeartScore® which has been adapted into 14 national versions to support specific local requirements including language and, when appropriate, to meet mortality rates of individual countries. The application is available online or as a download from the HeartScore® website at  Predictions of CVD risk are based on the ESC’s SCORE (Systemic Coronary Risk Evaluation) model which is itself based on the 2007 ESC Guidelines on CVD prevention.
HeartScore® conducts a real-time statistical analysis of data entered by the clinician.  Results are available immediately and can be archived for future comparisons and progress monitoring. 

The model provides a simple graphical display of absolute CVD risk together with tailored information on intervention areas, a discussion on the relevant risk factors, and a printed advice pack for the patient that explains the analysis and encourages shifts in behaviour and lifestyle when appropriate.

EACPR President, Doctor Pantaleo Giannuzzi, is delighted that the new release is ready for launch and emphasises his commitment to the HeartScore® project. “Our objective is to provide a proven means for predicting CVD risk which meets the needs of clinicians and their patients.  Because HeartScore® is designed to evolve, it can be updated to fit local conditions or reflect fresh thinking.  This makes it a powerful tool that offers a great opportunity to highlight the crucial benefits of CVD prevention.”    
The HeartScore® application has been pre-selected as a contender for the 2011 European Health Award.  For more information on HeartScore®, visit

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