texas governor rick perry On January 1st of 2010, the first preventive cardiovascular screening act for early detection of hidden heart disease went into effect in Texas. Texas Representative Oliveira worked with SHAPE founder Dr. Morteza Naghavi to introduce the HB1290 bill that closely follows the SHAPE Guideline for identification of apparently healthy individuals who have a high risk of a near future heart attack and are unaware of their risk. It requires reimbursement of up to $200 for a heart scan or a carotid scan for men between ages 45 and 75, and women between ages 55 and 75. According to an analysis extrapolated from the SHAPE Task Force Report (published in the American Journal of Cardiology), adoption of Texas SHAPE Law for screening of asymptomatic men and women could have the following outcomes:

 

**** Prevent more than 4,300 deaths from cardiovascular disease each year in Texas.

**** Reduce the incidence of heart attack- currently estimated to be 1.4 million – by as much as 25 percent in the Texas Population.

**** Save approximately $1.6 billion in healthcare costs annually.

Heart disease has been the number one killer in the U.S. since 1902 (except during the pandemic flu of 1918). According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, 32% of all deaths in Texas are caused by cardiovascular disease. With an increasing Hispanic population in Texas, obesity, diabetes and heart disease is weighing on Texas more than other states. Texas and the entire US need to SHAPE up!

The Texas landmark legislation is the first in the United States to mandate the careful and responsible implementation of a comprehensive heart attack risk assessment and reduction strategy. Approved screening procedures include: 1) the measurement of coronary artery calcium score (CACS) by CT; and 2) the measurement of carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT) and plaque by ultrasonography.

These two non-invasive screening tests have been proven by the National Health Institute studies to be strong predictors of those who are vulnerable to a heart attack or stroke.

The passage of the heart attack preventive screening bill is a great opportunity to finally help save the lives of thousands who have hidden heart disease. It is imperative that we cover preventive screening for the number one killer, and take action to reduce healthcare costs through preventive healthcare. The time has come for this change.