Newer biomarkers add small improvement in cardiovascular risk prediction to established risk factors

Results of a long-term Framingham Heart Study investigation of multiple biomarkers for the prediction of first major cardiovascular events and death are reported in the December 21 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).

In the study, scientists followed 3209 participants in the Framingham Heart Study for 10 years and measured 10 of the most promising ‘novel’ biomarkers for predicting the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). The newer biomarkers such as natriuretic peptides, C-reactive protein, fibrinogen, urinary albumin, and homocysteine were compared with established risk factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol. Measuring several biomarkers simultaneously, referred to as the "multimarker" approach, enabled the scientists to stratify risk. They found that persons with high multimarker scores had a risk of death four times as great and a risk of major cardiovascular events almost two times as great as persons with low multimarker scores. However, the use of multiple biomarkers added only moderately to the overall prediction of risk based on conventional risk factors.

"Multiple Biomarkers for the Prediction of First Major Cardiovascular Events and Death," was funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health. Daniel Levy, M.D., Director of the Framingham Heart Study, is available to comment on the study’s affirmation of the importance of traditional risk factors. He can also discuss the promise of new biomarkers --despite their modest enhancement over conventional risk factors-- in identifying individuals at high risk for cardiovascular events. In addition, Levy can comment on NHLBI’s recently announced large-scale biomarker project, a proposed biomarker consortium to conduct research on novel CVD biomarkers and develop new diagnostic tests to identify individuals at high risk for CVD and its risk factors.

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Embargoed For Release Wednesday, December 20, 2006 5:00 P.M. Eastern

To schedule interviews, call the NHLBI Communications Office at (301) 496-4236.

Part of the National Institutes of Health, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) plans, conducts, and supports research related to the causes, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of heart, blood vessel, lung, and blood diseases; and sleep disorders. The Institute also administers national health education campaigns on women and heart disease, healthy weight for children, and other topics. NHLBI press releases and other materials are available online at: www.nhlbi.nih.gov.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) — The Nation's Medical Research Agency — includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the primary federal agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit http://www.nih.gov.


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