The medical world has been waiting eagerly for the results of The REACH (Resource Utilization Among Congestive Heart failure patients) study, that examined many features of atherosclerotic disease in nearly 70,000 patients 45 years of age or older in 44 developed countries around the world. The report is expected to be useful for doctors with patients at risk for heart disease. The research report was presented at the recent heart meeting in Atlanta. The study shows that the risk of cardiovascular events like heart attack, stroke.
And death increase steeply when atherosclerosis is present in vascular systems throughout the body.
Now the question is who is at risk? For study participants with three risk factors but with no known vascular disease, the risk of a major cardiovascular event at the end of one year of follow-up after entering the study was 1.5 percent which is about half the risk for those with known coronary disease. But there is a hike in the risk of a cardiovascular event by 50% in patients with cerebrovascular disease or peripheral artery disease alone, when it is compared with patients suffering only had coronary disease.
The study shows that the risk of a cardiovascular event is more than doubled when patients with coronary disease were compared to those with the combination of coronary, cerebrovascular, and peripheral artery disease. These findings of this study are really shocking as most of the patients on whom the study was done were already being treated with statins, antihypertensive medications, and aspirin.
The study reveals a widespread distribution of atherosclerosis in the body. One among the authors of the study journal states that the doctors should now view patients not as walking coronaries or walking peripheral arteries, but really patients with global atherothrombosis. It also conveys a message to the patients that they should make sure their doctors look beyond the heart and the traditional risk factors to determine cardiovascular risk.