New tool finds best heart disease and stroke treatments for patients with diabetes

Jun 29, 2009

Researchers from North Carolina State University and Mayo Clinic have developed a computer model that medical doctors can use to determine the best time to begin using statin therapy in diabetes patients to help prevent heart disease and stroke.

"The research is significant because patients with are at high risk for and statins are the single most commonly used treatment for patients at risk of and/or stroke," says Dr. Brian Denton, "and this model can help determine the best course of action for individual patients based on their risk of developing cardiovascular disease." Denton is an assistant professor in NC State's Edward P. Fitts Department of Industrial & Systems Engineering and lead author of the study.

Statins are a key component of current cardiovascular medical treatment guidelines, Denton says. They lower cholesterol levels and may significantly reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke, particularly in patients that are considered to be at high risk.

The researchers developed a new mathematical model that examines various possible treatment policies to see how they influence short-term and long-term health outcomes for patients. The model shows how people are affected by diabetes, and how their health changes over time as the disease advances and patients age.

The new model incorporates patient-specific data. An established risk model calculates each patient's probability of heart attack and based on risk factors, such as their cholesterol, blood pressure, etc. This overall risk "score" is used to weigh the medical advantages of beginning statin therapy against the financial cost of the statins.

Overall, by accounting for the progression of diabetes, the patient's specific risk score and the cost-benefit analysis, the new model may help patients and doctors decide on the optimal time to begin statin therapy.

Denton says the new model has not yet been put into practice, but that the research team plans to develop a pilot to put the tool into the hands of medical professionals.

The research, "Optimizing the Start Time of Statin Therapy for Patients with Diabetes," was published earlier this month in the journal Medical Decision Making.

Source: North Carolina State University (news : web)

Explore further: Jobless and poor, Ghana's youth turn to selling blood

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Is your heart aging faster than you are?

Nov 26, 2007

Despite the increasing evidence that managing high cholesterol reduces cardiovascular events, many people do not achieve recommended lipid levels. This is due, in part, to patients’ lack of understanding about their risk ...

Statins shown to lower blood pressure

Apr 14, 2008

A large, randomized drug trial has shown for the first time that statin drugs result in a modest, but significant, reduction in blood pressure. These effects may contribute to the reduced risk of stroke and cardiovascular ...

Cholesterol-lowering drugs and the risk of hemorrhagic stroke

Dec 12, 2007

People taking cholesterol-lowering drugs such as atorvastatin after a stroke may be at an increased risk of hemorrhagic stroke, or bleeding in the brain, a risk not found in patients taking statins who have never had a stroke. ...

Recommended for you

The human race evolved to be fair for selfish reasons

Sep 19, 2014

"Make sure you play fairly," often say parents to their kids. In fact, children do not need encouragement to be fair, it is a unique feature of human social life, which emerges in childhood. When given the o ...

Non-stop PET/CT scan provides accurate images

Sep 18, 2014

Siemens is improving PET/CT imaging and data quality while reducing radiation exposure. The Biograph mCT Flow PET/CT scanner is a new positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) system that, ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

rockysmith
not rated yet Jul 03, 2009
The researchers developed a new mathematical model that examines various possible treatment policies to see how they influence short-term and long-term health outcomes for patients. The model shows how people are affected by diabetes, and how their health changes over time as the disease advances and patients age.