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Cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death worldwide, claiming about 17.8 million lives annually. More than eight million of these deaths are caused by coronary heart disease (CHD), which develops when blood flow through the coronary arteries (which supply the heart with oxygen-rich blood) becomes compromised. This is usually the result of plaque buildup and inflammation in the arteries, which can eventually lead to a heart attack.

Over the years, significant progress has been made in our ability to understand, prevent, and treat CHD. However, for many individuals, their first sign of CHD is their heart attack, or even sudden cardiac death. There remains a great need to detect individuals at risk for CHD much earlier and to initiate specific interventions that will prevent heart attacks and other signs and symptoms of CHD.