Providing Evidence for Subclinical CVD in Risk Assessment

Michael J. Blaha, Joseph Yeboah, Mahmoud Al Rifai, Kiang Liu, Richard Kronmal, Philip Greenland

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


When the MESA (Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis) began, the Framingham risk score was the preferred tool for 10-year global coronary heart disease risk assessment; however, the Framingham risk score had limitations including derivation in a homogenous population lacking racial and ethnic diversity and exclusive reliance on traditional risk factors without consideration of most subclinical disease measures. MESA was designed to study the prognostic value of subclinical atherosclerosis and other risk markers in a multiethnic population. In a series of landmark publications, MESA demonstrated that measures of subclinical cardiovascular disease add significant prognostic value to the traditional Framingham risk variables. In head-to-head studies comparing these markers, MESA established that the coronary artery calcium score may be the single best predictor of coronary heart disease risk. Results from MESA have directly influenced recent prevention guidelines including the recommendations on risk assessment and cholesterol-lowering therapy. The MESA study has published its own risk score, which allows for the calculation of 10-year risk of coronary heart disease before and after knowledge of a coronary artery calcium score.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)275-285
Number of pages11
JournalGlobal Heart
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Community and Home Care
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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