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SHAPE’s Heart Attack Eradication Efforts Gain Momentum in Europe

Leaders in preventive cardiology join in encouraging early detection and treatment of asymptomatic atherosclerosis

HOUSTON, May 11, 2011 – SHAPE, The Society for Heart Attack Prevention and Eradication (http://www.shapesociety.org), a nonprofit organization that promotes early detection and preventive intervention to reduce heart attack risk, expects to feel right at home when the 2011 European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress convenes in Paris this August. SHAPE Task Force members have been invited to present the SHAPE initiative at ESC’s EuroPRevent and the ESC 2011. EuroPRevent, which was held in April in Geneva, Switzerland, exhibited Europe’s leadership in promoting innovative preventive strategies.

SHAPE has long advocated the widespread adoption of screening to identify asymptomatic healthy-looking individuals who have atherosclerosis and, therefore, are at risk of hidden heart attack and stroke. The SHAPE Task Force explicitly declares atherosclerosis as a disease that must be detected and treated regardless of risk factors. The First SHAPE Guideline recommended two non-invasive atherosclerosis tests for at-risk men over age 45 and at-risk women over age 55: either coronary artery calcification scoring (CACS) by a computed tomography (CT) scan or carotid artery intima-media thickness (CIMT) scanning by ultrasound. Both tests have been shown to assess an asymptomatic individual’s heart attack risk more effectively than risk factors of atherosclerosis such as cholesterol.

“Study after study has proven the effectiveness of these tests, yet SHAPE has consistently faced opposition because we have dared not to be constrained by bureaucracies that squelch creative thinking and innovation,” said Dr. Erling Falk, professor of cardiovascular pathology in Aarhus University and chief of the SHAPE Task Force Editorial Committee. “As the European leaders in preventive cardiology take new initiatives, we hope the rest of the world will follow and it will bring us closer to SHAPE’s vision for eradicating heart attack during this century.”

Widespread adoption of heart attack screening of apparently healthy men and women could prevent thousands of “premature” deaths annually. The costs of screening procedures would be more than offset by the savings from preventing first heart attacks.

Hundreds participated in the SHAPE Satellite Symposium during EuroPRevent 2011. The program was chaired by Morteza Naghavi, M.D., founder of SHAPE, and the speakers were Erling Falk, M.D., Ph.D., Raimund Erbel, M.D., Henrik Sillesen, M.D., Ph.D. and Stefan Moehlenkamp, M.D. Topics included:

  • What is SHAPE? Why do we need to SHAPE up primary prevention? E. Falk (Aarhus N, DK)
  • Detection of subclinical coronary atherosclerosis with calcium scoring for improved risk prediction. R. Erbel (Essen, DE) 
  • Detection of subclinical carotid atherosclerosis for improved risk prediction. H. Sillesen (Copenhagen, DK)
  • Detection of subclinical PAD for improved risk prediction. S. Moehlenkamp (Essen, DE)

Presentations are available on SHAPE website www.shapesociety.org.
Presenters examined how SHAPE works as part of primary prevention, and how detection of subclinical atherosclerosis can improve risk prediction.

The theme for the 2011 edition of the ESC Congress is, ‘Controversial Issues in Cardiology.’ Dr. Naghavi has been invited to present, “Subclinical Atherosclerosis: How to Detect and When to Treat.” The event is scheduled August 27 – 31 at Parc des Expositions, Paris Nord Villepinte in Paris.

About SHAPE

Based in Houston, the Society for Heart Attack Prevention and Eradication (SHAPE) is a non-profit organization that promotes education and research related to prevention, detection, and treatment of heart attacks. SHAPE is committed to raising public awareness about revolutionary discoveries that are opening exciting avenues to prevent heart attacks. SHAPE's mission is to eradicate heart attacks in the 21st century. Additional information is available on the organization's Web site at www.shapesociety.org.

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Author: Daniel Keeney
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