In a new statement, the US Preventive Services Task Force analyzed the evidence for nine nontraditional ways to screen people with no history of coronary artery disease. And the panel concluded that the evidence isn't strong enough yet to be able to judge the balance of benefits and harms with the following:
• high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP)
• ankle-brachial index (ABI)
• leukocyte count
• fasting blood glucose level
• periodontal disease
• carotid intima-media thickness (carotid IMT)
• coronary artery calcification (CAC) score on electron-beam computed tomography
• homocysteine level
• lipoprotein(a) level.
We'll see how widely this is reported by mainstream news organizations - many of whom have already sung the praises of some of these, especially the C-reactive protein test and coronary calcium CT scans.
The USPSTF states:
Little evidence is available to determine the harms of using nontraditional risk factors in screening. Potential harms include lifelong use of medications without proven benefit and psychological and other harms from being misclassified in a higher risk category. ... Adding nontraditional risk factors to coronary heart disease assessment would require additional patient and clinical staff time and effort. Routinely screening with nontraditional risk factors could result in lost opportunities to provide other important health services of proven benefit.