Harvard Heart Letter

Simplicity still rules for heart disease forecast

New heart disease tests add little to the predictive power of blood pressure, cholesterol, and other traditional risk factors.

One of the $64,000 questions in cardiology today is, "What is the best way to predict who is likely to have a heart attack and who isn't?"

Over the years, scores of tests and tools have been trotted out to estimate the likelihood of having a heart attack. They range from inexpensive blood tests to costly heart scans. Work on these tests has cost millions of dollars, led to thousands of published studies, generated considerable controversy among doctors, and sowed confusion among the rest of us.

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