Weather Map Lookalike Tracks Heart Problems, not Sun or Snow

Apr. 15, 2015

A U.S. patent has been issued for a tool invented at URMC that helps to identify people at high or low risk for heart attacks.

OEM mapThe patent covers outcome event mapping or OEM, a novel graphical data map. It works much like a weather map but instead of charting temperature or barometric pressure it charts the levels of two well-established biomarkers for heart health -- HDL cholesterol (the “good cholesterol”), and C-reactive protein (for inflammation).

OEM paints a picture of peaks and valleys that correspond to high- and low-risk patient subgroups. The contours in the data map allow classification of individuals. In addition, the method can be extended to accommodate genetic data such as single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs).

By identifying small subgroups of patients and determining what puts them at high risk, doctors can better deliver personalized medicine by offering the treatment that is likely to provide the most benefit for a particular individual. 

The inventors were James P. Corsetti, M.D., Ph.D.; Charles E. Sparks, M.D.; Dan Ryan, M.D.; and Arthur J. Moss, M.D, all of whom collaborate in the departments of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and Cardiology.

Click here to read an earlier press release for an OEM study that unexpectedly found that some patients with higher levels of the so-called good cholesterol actually had a higher risk for chest pain, heart attack, and death.