I’ve started with Cardio test in my practice from the very beginning since it appeared in our country and the number of my patients has been increasing every week. Many of my colleagues and patients ask me often:
a/ what is the main contribution comparing Cardio test to the classic cholesterol testing and
b/ who benefits mainly from the Cardio test.
Responding to my colleges, I am going to do so comprehensively enough with respect to the large part of population as potential candidates for this test, too.
There are generally accepted criteria assigned to the risk of heart attack and stroke called as “Life’s simple 7”, including regular physical activity, not smoking, maintaining weight, healthy diet, controlling regularly blood pressure, sugar and cholesterol in blood.
Myself, I always include additional criteria ( as heart rhythm disorders, stress, alcoholism), and never neglect, of course, to ask about family history of cardiovascular deseases with parents or even grandparents. Before not having such an advanced lipid profile as offered by Cardio test now, we just had to respect the classic cholesterol test.
I believe the classic cholesterol test will be still respected for a long time, especially if showing patient’s increased bad cholesterol levels combined with further negative health factors .
But now I cannot be satisfied any more with good results of cholesterol testing if there are next very important signals calling my attention to the fact, that the patient could have dangerously increased number of cholesterol particles (LDL-P). The family history of CVD, overweight, abdominal obesity or diabetes are the most important ones that I judge with respect.
Above all, I emphasise to all of my colleges, that an apparently healthy looking patient should never escape their attention. Great part of them, having good results with cholesterol testing, will have very probably similar ones with Cardio test, too. But please remember (!), even up to 30% of them will mark increased or even high risk proved by Cardio test results!
Well, according to the former knowledge we disbelieved that everything was alright when cholesterol examination turned well and we informed patients happily that they were safe…but this is not true any more. Now, having at disposal Cardio test – NMR spectroscopy, my clear answer to the first question is as follows:
Cardio test is able to reveal the risk of heart attack and stroke assessing the “dangerous number” and size of cholesterol particles (LDL-P) in blood serum, especially with people that was impossible to do so before. According to my opinion this is the major contribution of Cardio test both to us doctors and our patients, too.
So, nowadays intending to be very careful making my diagnosis, I always respect additional information with each patient and I recommend very often Cardio test to the group of people having normal or margin blood cholesterol level. I wish to eliminate in time certain kind of “hidden risk” of heart attack and stroke they could be facing to because of possibly having dangerously increased number of cholesterol particles, that standard cholesterol testing is not able to find. Above all, this group of people accepts Cardio test willingly, understanding their possible health problem very fast.
There is a very good acceptance of this test, too, with patients who refuse medical treatment for high level of cholesterol, or those facing to start this kind of treatment with some hesitation. Good news is that early detection done by Cardio test can help some about 10% of them to avoid or discontinue completely drug treatment, of course, in cooperation with a doctor familiar with this issue.
Finally, my answer to the second question who benefits the most from this test is clear, as well. As described above except of standard groups of patients designed to be the proper candidates I recommend Cardio test daily to all my patients whenever I see that there can exist any risk of heart attack or stroke that this kind of top examination could help to disclose. Especially, I inform about this test all my patients showing desire to cooperate with me and modify their health condition in time. Accepting this sort of highly advanced examination, they give me strong vision of new possibilities in medicine, more diagnostic power and self confidence to reach correct medical decisions. I believe that next results mutually achieved will confirm that very soon.
MUDr J.L., cardiologist, SK