Science & Tech

Handheld calculator measures risk of heart attack

1 min read

Helps doctors to determine best course of treatment

When a patient goes to a hospital emergency room with worsening chest pain, doctors must quickly decide whether that person should be given medication and sent home, or whether he or she should undergo aggressive treatment. Now a new diagnostic tool helps physicians to decide the proper course of action. Researchers at Brigham and Women’s and Harvard Medical School have developed a handheld computer program to help doctors calculate a patient’s risk for a serious or fatal heart attack. Each patient receives a score based on seven proven risk factors including age, elements such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol, past history of heart disease, medications, electrocardiogram readings, recent chest pains, and findings from blood tests.