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Heart treatment call for over-55s

All over-55s should be offered preventive treatment for heart disease and stroke, researchers have claimed.

A blanket approach would save time and money by ending the need for blood and cholesterol tests to determine who needs treatment, the group said.

Researchers from Barts and the London Medical School ran two screening programmes on a theoretical population of 500,000 people.

Their results showed that offering preventive treatment to everyone over 55, regardless of whether they are deemed to be at risk or not, led to an 84% detection rate.

This was the same level of detection generated from the programme where screening methods that are currently used - that take into account factors like age, sex, if someone smokes or has high blood pressure or cholesterol - were employed.

It was claimed that while the success rates were the same, the age-based method would be more cost-effective.

The study has been published in the open access journal PLoS ONE.

Professor Sir Nicholas Wald said: "This study shows that age screening for future cardiovascular disease is simpler than current assessments, with a similar screening performance and cost effectiveness. It also avoids the need for blood tests and medical examinations."

Copyright © Press Association 2011

PLoS ONE

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