Risk calculator available as free mobile app

Physicians can access a free app to calculate a patient’s 10-year and lifetime risk of developing atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD).

The American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association released a mobile and web-based version of the ASCVD Risk Estimator, which was unveiled in late 2013 with a series of prevention guidelines. The tool came under fire from physicians who claimed it overestimated risk by as much as 150 percent. The societies rebutted that it was an improvement over previous options and offered a broader scope that encompassed stroke risk and a more diverse patient population.

Physicians enter patient data such as age, sex, race, total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, systolic blood pressure, antihypertensive medication use, diabetes status and smoking status to estimate 10-year and lifetime risk of MI and ischemic stroke. The app also facilitates decision making on the appropriateness, intensity and risk of statin therapy and lifestyle changes.

The ACC and AHA have emphasized that the calculator should be used to initiate conversations with patients about modifiable behaviors and risk factors. “While we hope the app will make the risk assessment guidelines more accessible, it is not a substitute for face-to-face engagement,” ACC President John G. Harold, MD, said in a release. “It is a tool to help health professionals and patients work together as part of a discussion of the patient’s medical history and lifestyle.”

The mobile app can be downloaded for free from iTunes and Google Play app stores. The web version is available on the ACC and AHA websites.