Doctors have long relied on a few key patient characteristics to assess risk of heart attack or stroke, using a calculation that takes into account blood pressure, cholesterol, smoking and diabetes , as well as demographic data: age, gender and race. Today, the American Heart Association is remove race from the equation. From a report: The redesign of the widely used cardiac risk algorithm is a recognition that, unlike gender or age, racial identification in itself is not a biological risk factor. The scientists who modified the algorithm decided from the start that race itself had no place in the clinical tools used to guide medical decision-making, even though race could serve as an indicator of certain circumstances. social, genetic predispositions or environmental exposures that increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. disease.
The revision comes amid growing concern about health equity and racial bias within the U.S. healthcare system, and is part of a broader trend to remove race from a variety of clinical algorithms. “We shouldn’t use race to determine whether or not someone gets treatment,” said Dr. Sadiya Khan, a preventive cardiologist at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine who chaired the editorial board of the American Heart statement. Association, or AHA The statement was published Friday (PDF) in the association’s journal, Circulation. An online calculator using the new algorithm, called PREVENT, is still in development.