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SHAPE Task Force Reflects on 10 Years of Progress toward Heart Attack Eradication

Leading cardiologists and researchers will meet to discuss SHAPE Trial and updates to SHAPE Guidelines

SHAPE_LOGO_with_Mission_4.jpgLOS ANGELES, August 17, 2015 – SHAPE, The Society for Heart Attack Prevention and Eradication (http://www.shapesociety.org), a nonprofit grassroots organization dedicated to the mission of eradicating heart attacks, will convene a meeting of an international contingent of leading cardiologists and researchers to mark a decade of stunning progress and determine the way forward. The SHAPE Trial Advisory Meeting is scheduled for August 21-23, 2015 in Los Angeles.

Ten years ago, SHAPE unveiled the first National SHAPE Guidelines, which aimed to overhaul traditional medical practice related to heart attack prevention by changing how doctors evaluate an individual’s risk of heart attack. The SHAPE Guidelines educate physicians on how to identify asymptomatic atherosclerosis (hidden plaques) and implement proper therapies to prevent a future heart attack. According to the Guidelines, men over 45 and women over 55 need to be tested for hidden plaques in coronary or carotid arteries. The SHAPE Guidelines recommended the following non-invasive atherosclerosis tests: 

  • Coronary artery calcification scoring (CACS) by a computed tomography (CT) scan.
  • Measurement of carotid plaque and scanning of carotid artery intima-media thickness (CIMT) by ultrasound. 

Individuals with high risk atherosclerosis (high plaque score) should be treated even if their cholesterol level is within statistical “normal range.” If they have plaques, the so-called normal is not normal for them. The greater the plaque burden, the higher the risk, and the more vulnerable to a near future heart attack. The SHAPE Guidelines aim to identify the asymptomatic “Vulnerable Patient” and offer them intensive preventive therapy to prevent a future heart attack.  

The SHAPE Guidelines’ publication in the July 2006 edition of the American Journal of Cardiology was a bellwether moment in preventive cardiology. It spurred heated debates, praise and criticism that led to major shifts in how heart attack risk is approached.

“We were frustrated that the former NCEP Guidelines (National Cholesterol Education Program) was clearly miss-classifying a large number of patients and very likely contributing to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people, but nobody else was willing to stand up and argue for a fundamental change in approach,” said Dr. Morteza Naghavi, the Founder of SHAPE and Executive Chairman of the SHAPE Task Force. “We expected a backlash, but we felt it was worth it if we could get the medical establishment to question and reevaluate the status quo. Although our job is far from done, we are happy that a small organization like SHAPE could make such an impact.”

SHAPE is rooted in the “Vulnerable Plaque” movement that started in late 1990s and was first organized by Dr. Naghavi and colleagues at the University of Texas in Houston and the Texas Heart Institute under “Vulnerable Plaque Symposium.” In 2001 the organization was registered as a nonprofit as the “Association for the Eradication of Heart Attack.” In 2003, after publishing a consensus statement, “From Vulnerable Plaque to Vulnerable Patient; A Call for New Definitions and Risk Assessment Strategies,” the organization shifted its focus from secondary prevention to primary prevention, and from Vulnerable Plaque to Vulnerable Patient. This shift, which is now viewed as ahead of its time, resulted in the creation of the SHAPE Guidelines and their bold approach to public screening for prevention of heart attack.

During the years that followed, SHAPE has held 15 symposia and SHAPE Task Force members and advisors have collectively published more than 100 scientific papers supporting the SHAPE Guideline’s underlying concept. SHAPE’s impact on the public discussion about heart attack risk is undeniable.

  • In 2009, Texas became the first state to pass the Texas Heart Attack Prevention Bill mandating that health insurers offer coverage for CACS and CIMT scanning in asymptomatic adults based on the SHAPE Guideline. After the passage of the Texas legislation, similar bills were proposed in Massachusetts, Florida and Illinois.
  • In 2010, the American College of Cardiology Foundation/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines released practice guidelines that acknowledged the value of CACS and CIMT scanning by ultrasound for cardiovascular risk assessment in subsets of asymptomatic subjects.
  • 2010 also saw the advent of the SHAPE Accredited Centers of Excellence program, a scientifically validated and approach to early detection of Coronary Artery Disease based on the SHAPE Guideline.
  • Earlier this year, the feature film, The Widowmaker premiered, focusing public attention on the glaring lack of effectiveness of traditional risk factors and the need for greater emphasis on the proven preventive technologies that SHAPE recommends. 

“We have accomplished so much, but old standards – no matter how flawed or how many men and women die of unexpected heart attacks – are very hard to change,” said Dr. PK Shah, Chairman of the SHAPE Scientific Board and, Professor of Medicine and Director of the Oppenheimer Atherosclerosis Research Center at Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute in Los Angeles. “Atherosclerosis kills more people than all types of cancer together, but unfortunately, compared to cancer research, it is awfully underfunded. With sufficient funding we can conduct much needed research that can lead to the eradication of heart attacks.”

In addition to Drs. Naghavi and Shah, the following doctors will chair the sessions at the SHAPE Trial Advisory Meeting:

  • Mathew Budoff, M.D., Professor of Medicine and Director of Preventive Cardiology, UCLA Harbor, Los Angeles, Calif.
  • Daniel Berman, M.D., Director of Cardiac Imaging and of Nuclear Cardiology at Cedars-Sinai, Los Angeles, Calif.
  • David Maron, M.D., Professor and Director, Preventive Cardiology Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, Calif. 

The agenda includes consideration of the various factors involved in design and implementation of a longitudinal outcome study (SHAPE Trial) to compare the SHAPE Guideline with the status quo, and explore the efficacy of new therapies. The group is also exploring collaborations with Google’s “Baseline Study,” which is a longitudinal research study to monitor various factors related to cardiovascular disease and cancer.

“I am pleased to see SHAPE has come a long way since the first day I contacted Dr. Naghavi to volunteer. It was after the tragic loss of my husband to a sudden heart attack which I strongly believe could have been prevented had the SHAPE guideline was followed” said JoAnne Zawitoski, the Chairwoman of SHAPE and principal attorney at Semmes in Washington DC. “On behalf of SHAPE, I warmly invite all to support us in our journey toward the mission of eradicating heart attacks.” 

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 website at www.shapesociety.org or by calling 1-877-SHAPE11 or 713-529-4484.

About SHAPE Task Force:

The SHAPE Task Force, an international group of leading cardiovascular physicians and researchers, has created the SHAPE Guidelines, which educates physicians on how to identify asymptomatic atherosclerosis (hidden plaques) and implement proper therapies to prevent a future heart attack. According to the SHAPE Guidelines, men 45-75 and women 55-75 need to be tested for hidden plaques in coronary or carotid arteries. Individuals with high risk atherosclerosis (high plaque score) should be treated even if their cholesterol level is within statistical “normal range.” If they have plaques, the so-called normal is not normal for them. The higher the amount of plaque burden in the arteries the higher the risk and the more vulnerable to heart attack. SHAPE Guideline aims to identify the asymptomatic “Vulnerable Patient” and offer them intensive preventive therapy to prevent a future heart attack. Knowing one's plaque score can be a matter of life and death. Additional information is available by calling 1-877-SHAPE11 or 713-529-4484. And Additional information is available at http://www.shapesociety.org.

The SHAPE Task Force includes the following:

Morteza Naghavi, M.D. – Executive Chairman

PK Shah, M.D. – Chair of Scientific Board
Erling Falk, M.D., Ph.D. – Chief of Editorial Committee

SHAPE Task Force Members and Advisors (alphabetic order): 

Arthur Agatston, M.D., Daniel Arking, Ph.D., Juan Badimon, Ph.D., Raymond Bahr, M.D., Daniel S. Berman, M.D., Matthew J. Budoff, M.D., Jay Cohn, M.D., Michael Davidson, M.D., Raimund Erbel, M.D., Erling Falk, M.D., Ph.D., Zahi Fayad, Ph.D., Sergio Fazio, MD, PhD, Steven B. Feinstein, M.D., Craig Hartley, Ph.D., Harvey S. Hecht, M.D., Howard Hodis, M.D., Ioannis Kakadiaris, Ph.D., Sanjay Kaul, M.D., M.P.H., Asher Kimchi. M.D., Wolfgang Koenig, M.D., Ph.D., Iftikhar J. Kullo, M.D., Daniel Lane, M.D., Ph.D., David Maron, M.D., Roxana Mehran, M.D., Ralph Metcalfe, Ph.D., Morteza Naghavi, M.D., Khurram Nasir, M.D., M.P.H., Tasneem Z. Naqvi, M.D., Jagat Narula, M.D., Paolo Raggi, M.D., George P. Rodgers, M.D., James HF Rudd, Ph.D., John A. Rumberger, PhD, M.D., Robert S. Schwartz, M.D., PK Shah, M.D., Leslee Shaw, Ph.D., David Spence, M.D., H. Robert Superko, M.D., Henrik Sillesen, M.D., Ph.D., Pierre-Jean Touboul, M.D. Nathan D. Wong, Ph.D.

Distinguished SHAPE Task Force Advisor: Valentin Fuster, M.D., Ph.D.

Chair of SHAPE Board of Directors: JoAnne Zawitoski, J.D.

Vice Chair and Executive Board Member: Brenda Garrett Superko, CVRN

SHAPE Task Force Public Relations: Daniel Keeney

Executive Director of SHAPE Centers of Excellence: Jeff Fine, Ph.D.

 

Author: Daniel Keeney
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