News | CT Angiography (CTA) | September 24, 2015

SHAPE Urges Use of CT Calcium Scoring, Carotid Artery Ultrasound

Leading cardiologists and researchers discuss SHAPE Trial and updates to SHAPE guidelines for heart attack prevention

SHAPE, task force, CT calcium scoring, carotid artery ultrasound, SHAPE Trial advisory meeting

September 24, 2015 — SHAPE, The Society for Heart Attack Prevention and Eradication, met with an international contingent of leading cardiologists and researchers to mark a decade of progress and determine the way forward. The SHAPE Trial Advisory Meeting took place Aug. 21-23, 2015, in Los Angeles.

The agenda for the SHAPE Trial Advisory Meeting included consideration of the various factors involved in design and implementation of a longitudinal outcome study (SHAPE Trial) to compare the SHAPE Guideline with the status quo, and explore the efficacy of new therapies. The group also explored collaborations with Google's "Baseline Study," which is a longitudinal research study to monitor various factors related to cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Ten years ago, SHAPE—a nonprofit grassroots organization dedicated to the mission of eradicating heart attacks—unveiled the first National SHAPE Guidelines, which aimed to overhaul traditional medical practice related to heart attack prevention by changing how doctors evaluate an individual's risk of heart attack. The SHAPE Guidelines educate physicians on how to identify asymptomatic atherosclerosis (hidden plaques) and implement proper therapies to prevent a future heart attack. According to the guidelines, men over 45 and women over 55 need to be tested for hidden plaques in coronary or carotid arteries. The SHAPE Guidelines recommended the following non-invasive atherosclerosis tests:

Individuals with high-risk atherosclerosis (high plaque score) should be treated even if their cholesterol level is within statistical "normal range." If they have plaques, the so-called normal is not normal for them. The greater the plaque burden, the higher the risk and the more vulnerable to a near future heart attack. The SHAPE Guidelines aim to identify the asymptomatic "Vulnerable Patient" and offer them intensive preventive therapy to prevent a future heart attack.

"We have accomplished so much, but old standards - no matter how flawed or how many men and women die of unexpected heart attacks - are very hard to change," said PK Shah, M.D., chairman of the SHAPE Scientific Board and professor of medicine and director of the Oppenheimer Atherosclerosis Research Center at Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute in Los Angeles. "Atherosclerosis kills more people than all types of cancer together, but unfortunately, compared to cancer research, it is awfully underfunded. With sufficient funding we can conduct much needed research that can lead to the eradication of heart attacks."

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