Biomarkers may not predict cardiac events

EMERGING cardiac risk markers are not ready for use as screening tests to predict cardiovascular events or for identifying patients at risk of developing cardiovascular disease, US and British experts say.

Dr Thomas Wang, from Harvard Medical School’s cardiology division, said the case for widespread screening with these novel tests was not as evidence-based as it might seem.

“The recent proliferation of circulating, genetic and imaging biomarkers of cardiovascular disease has generated enthusiasm that widespread screening might help to identify individuals before they present with an event,” he wrote in an editorial in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

He was commenting on the development of a tool showing how poorly most risk markers perform as screening tests. The calculator (www.wolfson.qmul.ac.uk/rsc) found that even for a measure strongly associated with cardiovascular risk, such as coronary calcium scores, three-quarters of