University of Queensland researchers are recruiting healthy volunteers with a family history of early-onset cardiovascular disease for an innovative trial aimed at preventing cardiac disease.

The study, at the Ipswich Hospital and upcoming at the Sunshine Coast University Hospital, will use advanced, non-invasive technology to determine participants’ risk of developing heart disease and to compare two approaches to managing their care.

Cardiologist Associate Professor Tony Stanton and GP Professor Geoffrey Mitchell are coordinating the trial along with the West Moreton Hospital and Health Service.

"We are calling on men and women aged between 40 and 70 with no diagnosed heart disease who are not already on cholesterol lowering medication to volunteer for the study,” Associate Professor Stanton said.

Participants will undergo an initial consultation to determine if they meet the criteria for a free calcium scoring CT scan.

“This scan looks for specks of calcium in the walls of the coronary arteries, which is an early sign of heart disease,” Associate Professor Stanton said.

“If signs of heart disease are detected, further in depth scans are conducted and management plans are created or intervention is provided to assist the participant."

The study will compare two pathways of care – routine care provided by the participant’s GP, and guided care based on the calcium score in which the participant is given advice on diet, exercise and cholesterol-lowering medication.

After three years, the effectiveness of each care pathway will be assessed.

Associate Professor Stanton said all participants in the study will receive optimal care based on current best-practise guidelines. The trial is part of an Australia-wide study known as CAUGHT-CAD – or Coronary Artery calcium score: Use to Guide management of Hereditary Coronary Artery Disease.

It is estimated that by 2030, more than 23 million people will die each year globally from cardiovascular disease.

One in five Australian adults has cardiovascular disease based on self-reported data (approximately 3.7 million people in 2011–12) — and it accounted for 30 per cent of all deaths in Australia in 2012.

Having a family history of cardiovascular disease can increase the risk.

“We need people for the trial who have a first degree relative, usually a parent or sibling, who was diagnosed with coronary artery disease, angina or a heart attack before they were 60,” Associate Professor Stanton said.

The study is funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and the West Moreton Hospital and Health Service.


To participate or for more information, contact Research Nurse Sarah McLennan:

Phone: +61 7 3176 7500