Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Heart Disease, Nature / 04.02.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Hugo Aerts, PhD Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Associate Professor, Brigham and Women's Hospital Harvard Medical School Director, Program for Artificial Intelligence in Medicine Brigham And Women's Hospital MedicalResearch.com: Deep convolutional neural networks to predict cardiovascular risk from computed tomography Response: Cardiovascular disease is the most common preventable cause of death in Europe and the United States. Effective lifestyle and pharmacological prevention is available, but identifying those who would benefit most remains an ongoing challenge. Hence, efforts are needed to further improve cardiovascular risk prediction and stratification on an individual basis. One of the strongest known predictors for adverse cardiovascular events is coronary artery calcification, which can be quantified on computed tomography (CT). The CT coronary calcium score is a measure of the burden of coronary atherosclerosis and is one of the most widely accepted measures of cardiovascular risk. Recent strides in artificial intelligence, deep learning in particular, have shown its viability in several medical applications such as medical diagnostic and imaging, risk management, or virtual assistants. A major advantage is that deep learning can automate complex assessments that previously could only be done by radiologists, but now is feasible at scale with a higher speed and lower cost. This makes deep learning a promising technology for automating cardiovascular event prediction from imaging. However, before clinical introduction can be considered, generalizability of these systems needs to be demonstrated as they need to be able to predict cardiovascular events of asymptomatic and symptomatic individuals across multiple clinical scenarios, and work robustly on data from multiple institutions. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, CT Scanning, Heart Disease, JACC, Statins / 14.01.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Prasanna Venkataraman MBBS Thomas H. Marwick MBBS, PhD Baker Heart and Diabetes Research Institute Monash University, Melbourne Melbourne, Australia MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
  • Coronary artery calcium score (CAC) quantifies coronary calcium as determined by computed tomography and is a good surrogate marker for overall coronary plaque burden. It can help to reclassify patients at intermediate risk – many of whom are actually at low risk and can be reassured. Conversely, the finding of coronary calcium can also motivate patients (and their clinicians) to more aggressively control their cardiovascular risk factors. This is particularly problematic in those with a family history of premature coronary artery disease, where standard risk prediction tools are less accurate. However, CT CAC does not routinely attract third party payer support limiting its access and utilisation.
  • We screened 1084 participants who have a family history of premature coronary disease and a 10-year Pooled cohort Equation (PCE) cardiovascular risk >2% with CAC. We then assessed the cost-effectiveness of commencing statins in those with any coronary calcium compared to a strategy of no CAC testing and commencing statins if their PCE risk was ≥7.5% consistent with current guidelines.
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Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Cost of Health Care, Heart Disease, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Statins / 14.05.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Ankur Pandya, PhD Assistant Professor of Health Decision Science Department of Health Policy and Management Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The 2013 ACC-AHA cholesterol treatment guidelines greatly expanded statin medication eligibility for individuals between the ages of 40-75 years without known cardiovascular disease, and there was some concern that African Americans at "intermediate risk" per those guidelines could be (arguably) overtreated with statins. The 2018 ACC-AHA guidelines included coronary artery calcium assessment for individuals at intermediate cardiovascular disease risk; those with a "zero" calcium score and no other risk factors would now change the eligibility (from indicated statin to not indicated). (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, NIH, Radiology / 03.06.2015

David A. Bluemke, MD, PhD, MsB, FAHA, FACR Director Radiology and Imaging Sciences Senior Investigator, National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering Adjunct Investigator, NLBI, NIDDK MedicalResearch.com Interview with: David A. Bluemke, MD, PhD, MsB, FAHA, FACR Director Radiology and Imaging Sciences Senior Investigator, National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering Adjunct Investigator, NLBI, NIDDK Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Bluemke: Most knowledge about the extent of coronary disease is from high risk patients who have coronary angiograms. Yet most individuals are symptomatic and have lower cardiovascular risk, and would not undergo a coronary angiogram. Coronary CT angiography can be used to evaluate the extent of plaque in low or moderate risk individuals. The most concerning type of plaque is "soft plaque", which can increase or rupture over time. Using coronary CT, all coronary plaque throughout the entire heart was measured. Importantly, the amount of soft plaque was uniquely associated with risk factors such as LDL, diabetes, and hypertension. (more…)