Bioanalysis Zone

Could a blood test predict your future risk for chronic disease?


Researchers at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute (UT, USA) have created the Intermountain Chronic Disease Risk Score (ICHRON) that accurately predicted an individual’s future risk of chronic diseases within three years. Information from routine blood tests was combined with the patient’s age to create the score. The ICHRON was presented at the 2017 American College of Cardiology’s 66th Annual Scientific Session (17 March, WA, USA).

The study indicated that ICHRON predictions were 77–78% accurate. These predictions are important because more than half of adults in America are affected by a chronic disease such as kidney failure, diabetes, heart attack, heart failure, coronary artery disease, peripheral vascular disease, atrial fibrillation, stroke, dementia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Principal investigator Heidi May (Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute) commented: “Our goal was to create a clinical tool that’s useful, easily obtainable and doesn’t slow the work-flow of our clinicians.”

The team analyzed the effectiveness of the ICHRON score in male and female patients who had no history of chronic disease. In females, individuals with a moderate score were three times more likely to be diagnosed than those with a low score. If the female patient had a high ICHRON score they were 11 times more likely to be diagnosed with a chronic disease. However, in males, individuals with a moderate and high ICHRON scores were 5.6 and 14 times more likely to be diagnosed respectively.

“We hope ICHRON can be used to help identify patients who are at a higher risk for a chronic disease and therefore need more personalized care. For example, if a patient received a high ICHRON score, the clinician could plan to see the patient more frequently or be more aggressive with treatments. If the patient had a low ICHRON score, they could potentially be seen less often or their care providers could forego a test they were considering,” commented May.

In the future, it is hoped that analysis of the ICHRON score could help patients to live healthier lives, avoid serious complications and reduce healthcare costs.

May concludes: “It’s a lot less expensive to help patients improve their lifestyles than it is to treat a heart attack and that’s in addition to all of the physical and emotional benefits that result from healthier lifestyles. The ICHRON tool supports Intermountain Healthcare’s system effort to use preventive medicine to improve people’s health and control healthcare costs.”



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