Murthy’s group believes that, overall, just 38 percent of high-risk black Americans would get a statin under the USPSTF guidelines, meaning that “significant numbers” of people would miss out on the cholesterol-lowering treatment.
What to do? According to the researchers, using scans to measure each patient’s artery calcification levels might help spot patients in need. This type of test has the potential to personalize a patient’s individual need for statin treatment, the authors explained.
Two cardiologists agreed.
“This study brings us back to the critical need to appreciate the uniqueness of different populations — whether based on gender, race, or ethnicity — and to evaluate results of trials or impact of guideline recommendations with regard to these differences,” said Dr. Stacey Rosen. She’s vice president of women’s health at Northwell Health’s Katz Institute for Women’s Health in New Hyde Park, N.Y.
“We have certainly learned in other clinical areas — cardiovascular disease in women, [high blood pressure] in African Americans, or diabetes in Latinos — that ‘one-size-does-not-fit-all,'” Rosen said.
Dr. Satjit Bhusri is a heart specialist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. He agreed with the researchers that “the use of calcium scoring by CT scan is best for early detection of heart disease; it is specific for each patient, and its benefits for early prevention are immense.” But he believes such testing should be available to all patients, regardless of race.
The study was published online March 18 in the journal JAMA Cardiology and will be presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Cardiology, in Washington, D.C.
SOURCES: Stacey Rosen, M.D., vice president, women’s health, Northwell Health’s Katz Institute for Women’s Health, New Hyde Park, N.Y.; Satjit Bhusri, M.D., cardiologist, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; JAMA Cardiology, news release, March 18, 2017