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Race Cannot Be Used to Predict Heart Disease


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Measuring the blood pressure of a Black woman.

The overhaul of the widely used cardiac-risk algorithm is an acknowledgment that, unlike sex or age, race identification in and of itself is not a biological risk factor.

Credit: Rocketclips, Inc./Alamy

The American Heart Association (AHA) is removing race as a factor in predicting heart disease from a widely used cardiac-risk algorithm, acknowledging that unlike sex or age, race identification in and of itself is not a biological risk factor.

The revision is part of a broader trend toward removing race from a variety of clinical algorithms.

“We should not be using race to inform whether someone gets a treatment or doesn’t get a treatment,” said Dr. Sadiya Khan at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, who chaired the AHA's statement writing committee.

An online calculator using the new PREVENT algorithm is still in development and has been improved in other ways as well. For example, it can be used by people as young as 30, unlike the earlier algorithm, which was only valid for those 40 and over.

From The New York Times
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