Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death in the United States. In smokers and ex-smokers enrolled in the National Lung Screening Trial, CVD, not lung cancer, was the leading cause of death. There are well-established preventive strategies for CVD risk factors, such as hypertension, high cholesterol levels, and smoking. These preventive strategies can greatly reduce the burden of CVD on population health. However, it is a challenge for doctors to ensure that patients engage in lifestyle modification or medication recommendations.
Our Pipeline to Proposal Independent Tier III project inquires whether coronary calcifications should be brought to the attention of patients undergoing lung cancer screening or their primary care providers. The presence of extensive coronary calcifications is predictive of mortality in patients undergoing lung cancer screening. However, notifying patients and primary care doctors of this abnormality may or may not benefit patients, lead to risk factor modification including smoking cessation, or ultimately reduce cardiovascular events.
During this project, researchers and patient partners will engage in multiple patient-centered activities to better understand whether providing information to patients on the amount of calcium in their coronary arteries would be useful in improving their cardiovascular health. These activities will include surveys and patient focus groups. We will identify representatives from stakeholder groups to join the research group. We will also have the research proposal project reviewed by the patient-led steering committee of the Health eHeart Alliance. Our goal is to generate a patient-centered comparative effectiveness research proposal to be submitted to PCORI for consideration.