IMIM - Institut Hospital del Mar d'Investigacions Mèdiques

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26/03/2014 - Press release

A system is being developed that will enable the prediction of the incidence of myocardial infarctions over the next decade

The system, called CASSANDRA, is of great value for health planning and the prevention of cardiovascular diseases

Investigators from IMIM (Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute) in partnership with the Department of Health of the Generalitat de Catalunya, have developed and validated a system called CASSANDRA which enables the prediction of the incidence of myocardial infarctions over the next ten years. This data is of great value for health planning and for the definition of strategies for the primary prevention of cardiovascular diseases. The estimations are made on the basis of expected demographic changes and the prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors.

Using CASSANDRA the authors have estimated that between now and 2022, the incidence of myocardial infarctions in Spain in individuals between 35 and 74 years of age will be 523 cases per 100,000 men and 232 cases per 100,000 women, if the only factor taken into account is the aging of the Spanish population. Maria Grau, a researcher from the IMIM Research Group on Cardiovascular Epidemiology and Genetics and first signatory of the article explains that “the incidence would descend to 486 cases per 100,000 men and 222 cases per 100,000 women if substantial improvements were made in the cardiovascular risk profile of the population. That is to say, if, for example, the total average level of cholesterol dropped by 8 mg/dl, the prevalence of diabetes in both sexes dropped by 5 percentage points and tobacco consumption dropped by 4 and 2 points in men and women, respectively”.

To make this estimation, one needs the average values of total cholesterol and of HDL cholesterol or “good cholesterol”, of arterial pressure and of the prevalence of diabetes and tobacco consumption in the population. This data is obtained with populational prevalence studies and official population projections for the ten years in which the estimation is made” explains Jaume Marrugat, Director of the IMIM Inflammatory and Cardiovascular Processes Programme.

The CASSANDRA Project has a website (www.redheracles.net/CASSANDRA) where different scenarios of change in cardiovascular risk factors can be defined and the estimation of the incidence of heart attacks can be obtained. This can be done not only for Catalonia and Spain but also for other countries and regions of the world, as CASSANDRA has the ability to adapt as long as it has up-to-date data on the incidence of myocardial infarctions and the prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors.

Reference publication:

Grau M, Subirana I, Vila J, et al. J Epidemiol Community Health. Validation of a population coronary disease predictive system: the CASSANDRA model. doi:10.1136/jech-2013-203516

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