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Physician suggestions wanted for new osteoporosis screening guidelines

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is considering whether to broaden the group of women it recommends to get routine screening for osteoporosis, and it wants physician input. The proposed recommendations suggest that younger women who have fracture risks equal to or greater than 65-year-old women should be screened for the disease. Currently the task force, an independent panel of nonfederal medical experts in prevention and evidence-based medicine, says women 65 and older, and those 60 or older at higher risk for fractures, should be tested. The guidelines were updated last in 2002. "That is a significant change. We found women as young as age 50 where screening would be appropriate," said Ned Calonge, MD, MPH, task force chair, and the Colorado Dept. of Public Health and Environment's chief medical officer. Physicians and others can comment on the draft recommendations through 5 p.m. EST Aug. 3 online ( Dr. Calonge, a family and preve ...

Hospitals boost response rates for timely angioplasties

American hospitals have made extensive improvements in delivering faster heart attack care in the last five years, and the death rate for heart attack patients is falling. Those are the findings in a study in the July 20 Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Researchers found that 88% of patients with ST-segment elevation acute myocardial infarction received artery-clearing balloon angioplasties within 90 minutes of arriving at one of the 959 hospitals studied in 2009. The "door-to-balloon" time should be 90 minutes or less, according to guidelines adopted in 2004 by the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Assn. The ACC launched an initiative called the D2B Alliance to help hospitals better their performance by taking steps such as requiring their entire cath lab team to arrive within 20 minutes of being contacted. By 2007, 64% of patients with STEMI were getting angioplasties within the 90-minute time frame, and the figure improved to 75% by mid-2008. ...

Cholesterol screening recommended for all children

Physicians should screen all children for cholesterol regardless of whether they have a family history of premature cardiovascular disease, a new Pediatrics study says. Universal screening would allow early diagnosis and the appropriate treatment of children with significant dyslipidemia, researchers stated. The ULTIMATE goal is to prevent this group from developing atherosclerotic disease when they become adults. Screening should begin when children are about 5 years old, according to senior author William A. Neal, MD. The frequency of screening depends on the patient's original low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels and family history. Children should be screened more frequently if they have an LDL level in the abnormal or high range, or if they have a family history of cardiovascular disease before the age of 55. The American Heart Assn. recommends that LDL cholesterol be less than 100 mg/dl. High LDL levels (160 mg/dl and greater) increase a person's risk of cardiovasc ...