A new study has indicated that measuring calcium levels in patients' arteries could be an effective way of identifying those most at risk of cardiovascular disease and related conditions.
Research published in the Lancet this week suggested examining coronary artery calcium (CAC) is a more accurate guide than C-reactive protein and can allow doctors to establish which individuals would benefit most from statins.
"The greatest challenge for preventive medicine is identifying people who are at highest risk of heart disease and who should therefore be given drugs," said British Heart Foundation (BHF) medical director Professor Peter Weisberg.
While Prof Weisberg accepted the report's findings about the efficacy of CAC testing, he warned that it could prove prohibitively expensive for the NHS to roll out a widespread screening programme.
Last week, the BHF reminded women that there are a wide range of smoking cessation services available and warned they may be at greater risk from passive smoking than men.