Review Articles

Coronary Heart Disease Risk Stratification: Pitfalls and Possibilities




Atherosclerosis of the coronary arteries, or coronary heart disease (CHD), is the most common cause of mortality in U.S. adults.1 The pathobiology of atherosclerosis and its complications is a continuum. At one end of the spectrum are young individuals without atherosclerotic disease who have not yet been exposed to lifestyle or other risk factors, and at the other end are patients with manifest atherosclerosis — myocardial infarction, stroke, and disabling peripheral arterial disease — where risk of recurrent disease and death is driven by the same factors initially responsible for the emergence of disease. However, it is clear that while risk factors are important in the development of CHD, not everyone with risk factors develops the disease and not everyone with CHD has risk factors. Furthermore, even similar degrees of exposure to a risk factor leads to disease in some individuals and not in others. Risk prediction, which is crucial in predicting and hence preventing disease, therefore becomes very challenging. In this article we review the currently available risk stratification tools for predicting CHD risk and discuss potential ways to improve risk prediction.

  • Year: 2010
  • Volume: 6 Issue: 4
  • Page/Article: 26-32
  • DOI: 10.14797/mdcvj.232
  • Published on 1 Nov 2010
  • Peer Reviewed