This 5-Minute At-Home Test Could Save You from a Heart Attack!

Swedish researchers have developed a home-use questionnaire that swiftly identifies individuals at high risk for a heart attack, demonstrating accuracy comparable to traditional blood tests and blood pressure readings.

The study was led by Göran Bergström, Professor of Clinical Physiology at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, and senior physician at Sahlgrenska University Hospital. He is also the principal investigator for SCAPIS (Swedish CardioPulmonary BioImage Study).

The researchers created an algorithm comprising 14 questions addressing factors such as age, gender, weight, waist circumference, smoking habits, high blood pressure, high blood fats, diabetes, and family history of cardiovascular disease. By analyzing responses, the home test can identify 65% of individuals at the highest risk for cardiovascular disease, according to the study.

The researchers explained, “We have developed a self-report tool that effectively identifies individuals with moderate to severe coronary atherosclerosis. This tool may serve as a prescreening method for a cost-effective computed tomography-based screening program for high-risk individuals.” They further elaborated, “Coronary atherosclerosis detected by imaging is a marker of elevated cardiovascular risk. However, imaging involves large resources and exposure to radiation. Our aim was to test whether nonimaging data, specifically data that can be self-reported, could be used to identify individuals with moderate to severe coronary atherosclerosis. These tools could be directly used to identify individuals with an increased risk of ischemic heart disease or to identify individuals in whom imaging could do more benefit than harm.”

The questionnaire includes questions such as, “How often do you have a drink containing alcohol (last 12 months)?”, “Number of drinks on a typical drinking day?”, “What was your approximate weight when you were age 20?”, “During the last 2 weeks, have you taken any medication for angina pectoris?”, “Chest wheezing in the last 12 months”, “Coughing phlegm, when not having a cold”, “Parental heredity for myocardial infarction”, and “At what age were you diagnosed with diabetes?”

Using a special algorithm to analyze responses, the test can identify 65% of individuals at the highest risk for cardiovascular disease. Professor Bergström stated, “The results show that our home test is as accurate as a clinic examination using blood tests and blood pressure measurements. If we can make the test widely available within healthcare, it can save lives and prevent suffering by helping us to identify those who are at high risk of heart attack or who are currently undertreated.”

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