News in Brief: Week of Sept. 2-6

September 04, 2013 04:45 pm News Staff

This roundup includes the following news briefs:

AAFP, USPSTF Say Evidence Lacking to Recommend For, Against Screening for PAD

The AAFP and U.S. Preventive Services Task Force( (USPSTF) have concluded that current evidence remains insufficient to assess the balance of benefits and harms of screening for peripheral artery disease (PAD) and cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk assessment using the ankle brachial index in adults.

In its statement(, the USPSTF said the final recommendation applies to asymptomatic adults who have no known diagnosis of PAD, CVD, severe chronic kidney disease or diabetes.

[News in Brief]

The task force said it found no evidence that screening for and treatment of PAD in asymptomatic patients leads to clinically important benefits and found inadequate evidence that early treatment of screen-detected PAD leads to improvement in clinical outcomes.

In March, USPSTF Co-vice Chair Michael LeFevre, M.D., M.S.P.H., of Columbia, Mo., told AAFP News Now that it would be hard for him to imagine many circumstances in which his management of a patient to prevent coronary artery disease would be influenced by the results of this test.

Learn More About PQRS in Upcoming CMS Webinar

Registration is now open for a CMS webinar( titled "Approaching 2013 PQRS Deadlines: What Providers Need to Know About PQRS Milestones." The event is scheduled for Sept. 11 from noon to 1:30 p.m. EDT.

Presenters will discuss PQRS program basics, give an overview of the value-based payment modifier, review various deadlines and milestones, and highlight resources and help desk information.

Space is limited. After registering, participants will receive a follow-up e-mail with instructions on how to access the webinar.

At Least 200,000 Deaths Each Year Could Be Prevented, Says CDC

Nearly one in three deaths in the United States each year is caused by heart disease and stroke, and at least 200,000 of those deaths could be prevented through changes in health habits and living environments and the management of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes.

That's according to the September issue( of the CDC's Vital Signs. The issue cites smoking cessation and physical activity as examples of healthy habits, and lists smoke-free areas and safe places to exercise as examples of healthier living environments that can play a major role in preventing early deaths from heart disease and stroke.

The Vital Signs issue also notes that the number of preventable deaths from heart disease and stroke has declined in people between ages 65 and 74 during the past several years, but has remained virtually unchanged in people younger than 65. Men across all races and ethnic groups have a higher risk than women of dying early from heart disease and stroke, but black men have the greatest risk and are nearly twice as likely as white men to die early from these afflictions, according to Vital Signs.

Tar Wars Goes Back to School

As a new school year begins, the AAFP's Tar Wars tobacco-free education program for fourth- and fifth-graders is seeking volunteers to conduct presentations on tobacco use prevention in schools across the country.

Revamped resources, including new classroom activities, a quick presenter guide, and an updated program guide, are available online.