Harvard Heart Letter

The art of refining heart risk prediction

It's all in the numbers; and one model comes out the winner.

In order to prevent heart disease, you have to know who is at risk for developing it. The answer depends on whether the Framingham, Reynolds, or Adult Treatment Panel III risk scoring system is used. The three models have many similarities, but also differences in the risk factors that are included in the equation. Until recently, how the systems compared was a matter of debate.

A team led by Dr. Nancy Cook, a biostatistician at Brigham and Women's Hospital and associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, took on the task. They examined how well the three systems performed in a representative sample of the nearly 72,000 racially and ethnically diverse healthy postmenopausal women in the Womens' Health Study. The most accurate results were predicted by the Reynolds risk scoring system. The study was published in Circulation on April 10, 2012.

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