Early diagnosis of ischemic heart disease to prevent acute myocardial infarction and sudden cardiac death


The majority of patients presenting with an acute coronary syndrome or sudden cardiac death are the direct consequence of unrecognized ischemic heart disease. Early diagnosis of patients with ischemic heart disease will result in timely treatment (revascularization and medical therapy) known to translate in fewer fatalities and fewer patients developing irreparable cardiac damage leading to decreased quality of life and increased health care costs. The goal of EARLY-SYNERGY is to early identify the majority of people at risk even before they suffer a heart infarct of suddenly die. We follow a two-step strategy: in the first step, participants undergo a CT-scan to measure the calcification in the coronary arteries. If there is no or little calcification, then the chance of getting a heart infarct or suddenly die is very small and further exams are unnecessary. This part of the research is already taking part in the ROBINSCA and IMALife studies. People with moderate to high calcification in the coronary arteries have a 10x increased risk to develop a heart infarct of suddenly die. In EARLY-SYNERGY, these people are further examined with a MRI-scan to determine if there is a severe narrowing of the coronary arteries or another heart disease. By establishing the diagnose and treating as early as possible, we expect that the large part of the heart infarcts and sudden cardiac deaths can be prevented.

For more information on this project, please click this link to the Hartstichting website.

The Future

If EARLY-SYNERGY provide us with successful results, we will implement this project to a screening program for the Dutch population such as current screening programs for breast and colon cancer.



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