Death calculator: Predicting heart failure
Elijah Ali and his son Rafee share a love for healthy eating and sports.
“[We] love to walk, love to run, play ball, [and] sports,” Ali told Ivanhoe.
“I get all my game from my dad,” Rafee told Ivanhoe. “He was the first one to put the ball in my hand when I was a little boy.”
However, despite his active and healthy lifestyle, Ali developed heart failure at age 43 after a virus attacked his body.
“I was really shocked, and really dismayed,” Ali explained.
Today Ali and his doctor are using a new app that calculates his risk of dying in the next five years.
UCLA researchers developed the app based on four variables: BNP level (which measures fluid retention), medication information, the New York Heart Association Classification (which measures shortness of breath caused by physical activity), and peak oxygen consumption (which measures the use of oxygen by the heart).
“We can develop a score that helps us predict a patient that will do well or is not going to do well,” Martin Cadeiras, MD, a transplant cardiologist at UCLA, told Ivanhoe.
The app shows the probability of survival. Ali has over a 90 percent chance of surviving one year and nearly a 70 percent chance of surviving five years. This data helps doctors tailor treatments and advice.
“Basically, it just lets you know where you are and where you don’t want to be,” Ali explained.