MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Martin Bødtker Mortensen, læge PhD
Afdelingen for Hjertesygdomme
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: The background for the study is a combination of two things: First, the proportion and number of elderly people 65 years of age or older are increasing fast worldwide. Second, given the dominant impact of age on estimated risk for cardiovascular disease, nearly all elderly individuals eventually become statin eligible under current guidelines – just because of aging alone. Thus, to limit overtreatment of elderly individuals, we wanted to find “negative” risk markers that can be used to identify elderly individuals at truly low cardiovascular risk who are less likely to benefit from statin therapy despite advancing age.
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?
Response: Interestingly, we found that elderly individuals with absence of coronary artery calcification by computed tomography, absence of carotid plaque by ultrasound or low levels of galactin-3 had remarkable low cardiovascular risk – much lower than would be expected based on the standard risk factors normally used in clinical practice. These findings question the appropriateness of a treat-all approach in the elderly population.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: Despite advancing age, many elderly individuals are actually at low risk for cardiovascular disease as they do not have the underlying disease, that is, subclinical atherosclerosis, that leads to clinical cardiovascular disease. Thus, there is a great opportunity for personalizing preventive therapy in the elderly population by using negative risk markers to identify those who don’t need treatment.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Response: Our findings showing that low levels of galactin-3 in elderly individuals can identify those who are at low cardiovascular risk are novel and highly interesting. If confirmed in other elderly cohorts, galactin-3 may turn out to be particularly useful for personalizing preventive treatment in the elderly population.
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