Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Johns Hopkins heart researchers develop formula to better calculate 'bad' cholesterol in patients

18.11.2013
Findings follow previous study showing that commonly used equation underestimates heart disease danger for many at high risk

Johns Hopkins researchers have developed a more accurate way to calculate low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, the so-called "bad" form of blood fat that can lead to hardening of the arteries and increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.

If confirmed and adopted by medical laboratories that routinely calculate blood cholesterol for patients, the researchers say their formula would give patients and their doctors a much more accurate assessment of LDL cholesterol.

"The standard formula that has been used for decades to calculate LDL cholesterol often underestimates LDL where accuracy matters most — in the range considered desirable for patients at high risk for heart attack and stroke," says Seth S. Martin, M.D., a cardiology fellow at the Johns Hopkins Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease. Martin is first author of the study detailed in a Nov. 19, 2013 article in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Many studies have shown that higher levels of LDL cholesterol signal greater risk of plaque accumulating in heart arteries. Since 1972, a formula called the Friedewald equation has been used to gauge LDL cholesterol. It is an estimate rather than a direct measurement. However, physicians use the number to assess their patients' risk and determine the best course of treatment.

The Friedewald equation estimates LDL cholesterol with the following formula: total cholesterol minus HDL cholesterol minus triglycerides divided by five. The result is expressed in milligrams per deciliter. That equation, the researchers say, applies a one-size-fits-all factor of five to everyone; a more accurate formula would take specific details about a person's cholesterol and triglyceride levels into account.

Using a database of blood lipid samples from more than 1.3 million Americans that were directly measured with a traditional and widely accepted technique known as ultracentrifugation, the researchers developed an entirely different system and created a chart that uses 180 different factors to more accurately calculate LDL cholesterol and individualize the assessment for patients.

"We believe that this new system would provide a more accurate basis for decisions about treatment to prevent heart attack and stroke," says Martin.

Results of the new study are built on research by the same authors from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. In that study, the researchers compared samples assessed using the Friedewald equation with a direct calculation of the LDL cholesterol.

They found that in nearly one out of four samples in the "desirable" range for people with a higher heart disease risk, the Friedewald equation was not accurate.

"As a result, many people — especially those with high triglyceride levels — may have a false sense of assurance that their LDL cholesterol is at an ideal level. Instead, they may need more aggressive treatment to reduce their heart disease risk," says Steven Jones, M.D., director of inpatient cardiology at The Johns Hopkins Hospital and a faculty member at the Ciccarone Center who is the senior author of the study.

The lipid profiles used for the study were from a laboratory in Birmingham, Ala., which provides a detailed analysis of samples sent in by doctors across the country. Except for the age of people on whom the samples were based (59 years on average) and the gender (52 percent of the samples were from women), the patients were not identifiable to the researchers. That database was almost 3,000 times larger than the sample used to devise the Friedewald equation 43 years ago.

Jones, who originated the idea to use the large laboratory database to assess the Friedewald equation, says the information was provided by the lab at no cost. The lab, Atherotech, did not provide any funding for the research or input on the calculations or study article. The database used in the study is registered on the website http://www.clinicaltrials.gov and will be an important resource for ongoing scientific investigation.

Jones and Martin are listed on a patent pending for the new system, which was filed by The Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Martin is supported by the Pollin Cardiovascular Prevention Fellowship, as well as the Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis endowed fellowship.

In addition to Martin and Jones, other researchers on the study were: Michael J. Blaha, Mohamed B. Elshazly, Peter O. Kwiterovich and Roger S. Blumenthal from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and Peter P. Toth from the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria.

Johns Hopkins Medicine (JHM), headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland, is a $6.7 billion integrated global health enterprise and one of the leading academic health care systems in the United States. JHM unites physicians and scientists of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine with the organizations, health professionals and facilities of The Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System. JHM's vision, "Together, we will deliver the promise of medicine," is supported by its mission to improve the health of the community and the world by setting the standard of excellence in medical education, research and clinical care. Diverse and inclusive, JHM educates medical students, scientists, health care professionals and the public; conducts biomedical research; and provides patient-centered medicine to prevent, diagnose and treat human illness. JHM operates six academic and community hospitals, four suburban health care and surgery centers, and more than 35 Johns Hopkins Community Physicians sites. The Johns Hopkins Hospital, opened in 1889, was ranked number one in the nation for 21 years in a row by U.S. News & World Report. For more information about Johns Hopkins Medicine, its research, education and clinical programs, and for the latest health, science and research news, visit http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org.

Media Contacts:

Ellen Beth Levitt, eblevitt@jhmi.edu, 410-955-5307 or 410-598-4711 (cell)

Helen Jones, hjones49@jhmi.edu, 410-502-9422

(Note: Dr. Martin and his co-authors will be at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions in Dallas for in-person interviews).

Ellen Beth Levitt | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.jhmi.edu
http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Microgel powder fights infection and helps wounds heal
14.11.2018 | Michigan Technological University

nachricht Spread of deadly eye cancer halted in cells and animals
13.11.2018 | Johns Hopkins Medicine

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

Im Focus: Coping with errors in the quantum age

Physicists at ETH Zurich demonstrate how errors that occur during the manipulation of quantum system can be monitored and corrected on the fly

The field of quantum computation has seen tremendous progress in recent years. Bit by bit, quantum devices start to challenge conventional computers, at least...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

European Space Talks: Weltraumschrott – eine Gefahr für die Gesellschaft?

23.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Massive impact crater from a kilometer-wide iron meteorite discovered in Greenland

15.11.2018 | Earth Sciences

When electric fields make spins swirl

15.11.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Discovery of a cool super-Earth

15.11.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>