University of Ottawa team develops new heart attack risk calculator

25 July 2018 (Last Updated July 25th, 2018 10:35)

A research team at the University of Ottawa in Canada has developed a new online calculator that can predict a patients risk of cardiovascular disease, a group of conditions including heart attack and stroke.

A research team at the University of Ottawa in Canada has developed a new online calculator that can predict a patients risk of cardiovascular disease.

The new Cardiovascular Disease Population Risk Tool (CVDPoRT) calculator was validated during a survey performed in more than 100,000 people across the country.

Data showed that the tool can accurately predict the risk of hospitalisation or death due to cardiovascular disease within five years.

“According to the university, policymakers will be able to use the calculator to gain better insights into population health risks and plan accordingly for the future.”

Existing risk calculators utilise factors requiring medical tests such as blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

The new CVDPoRT takes into account various other factors such as age, diet, alcohol consumption, stress, physical activity, diabetes, smoking status and immigration status.

University of Ottawa professor Doug Manuel said: “Doctors will check your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, but they don’t necessarily ask about lifestyle factors that could put you at risk of a heart attack and stroke.

“We hope this tool can help people – and their care team – with better information about healthy living and options for reducing their risk of heart attack and stroke.”

The calculator additionally informs heart age, which is a measure of the heart’s health condition.

According to the university, policymakers will be able to use the CVDPoRT to gain better insights into population health risks and plan accordingly for the future.

Manuel added: “In cardiovascular disease, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Decision-makers need to understand the underlying causes of these conditions, like access to nutritional food, and being able to walk or bike in a community.”

The calculator is currently calibrated for Canadians but has the potential to be adopted for an additional 100 countries collecting health survey data.