Gauge for Cholesterol Risk Poses a Challenge (The New York Times)



A new risk calculator posted online by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology, intended to serve as an assessment tool for shaping how cardiologists prescribe cholesterol-lowering statins, is flawed, reports The New York Times.

One problem, notes the Times, is that the calculator is based on older data that does not accurately assess current health risks and another is that the calculator is based on a model that “assumes that risk rises in a straight line.” H. Gilbert Welch, a professor of medicine at The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice and at the Geisel School of Medicine, tells the Times, “The model suggests that lowering systolic blood pressure from 130 to 100 is nearly as important as from 180 to 150. I doubt there is a cardiologist in the country that believes that.”

Welch continues, “It should be fixed. And before we launch it on the public, we should launch it on the skeptical doctors. This matters to millions of people.”

Read the full story, published 11/18/13 by The New York Times.

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