Heart Attack Study: Do You Know If You Are At Risk?

About 25-percent of heart attacks or sudden cardiac deaths happen in people who don't fit the traditional profile; they don't smoke, don't have diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol. Now doctors are exploring whether the Ankle Brachial Index may help identify adults at risk for a heart attack who may not have been caught before.

The Ankle Brachial Index, or "ABI," is currently used by specialists to diagnose peripheral arterial disease. It works the same way as a blood pressure cuff, but measures how well the blood flows through the body.

Researchers from Rhode Island Hospital and Boston University looked at data on more than 6,000 adults without a history of heart disease.
Even though most were considered low risk, nearly 45-percent of them were found to have abnormal readings on the ABI test or had elevated biomarkers in their blood that could indicate heart disease.

The ABI is usually not done in routine visits with a primary care doctor, and is not covered by medicare.

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