The thrombolysis in myocardial infarction (TIMI) risk score is a tool used to predict the chances of having or dying from a heart event for people with:
- unstable angina, a heart condition that causes chest pain
- non-ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (NSTEMI), a type of heart attack
Your doctor might use the TIMI risk score to help manage your condition and make decisions about your treatment.
How the TIMI risk score is calculated
The TIMI risk score is calculated by taking seven factors into account. Some of these are determined by performing specialized heart tests or asking about a person’s medical history.
The test is simple to calculate.
- being older than 65
- using aspirin within the last week
- having at least two angina episodes in the last 24 hours
- having elevated serum cardiac biomarkers
- having ST-segment deviation on an electrocardiogram (a type of heart test)
- having known coronary artery disease
- having at least three risk factors for heart disease, which include:
- high blood pressure (greater than 140/90)
- smoking (being a current smoker)
- low HDL cholesterol (less than 40 mg/dL)
- a family history of heart disease
The lowest score you can receive is a 0, and the highest is a 7.
Interpreting your TIMI risk score
Your TIMI score can help your doctor accurately assess your chances of having or dying from a heart-related event in the next 14 days.
Scores are calculated and matched with a predicted risk.
The following chart includes possible scores and their corresponding risk percentages:
|Score||Risk of heart event|
|0 to 1||4.7%|
|6 to 7||At least 40.9%|
This means if you have a TIMI score of “0” or “1,” you have only a 4.7% risk of having or dying from a heart event.
Your healthcare provider can help you figure out exactly what your score means and how it may affect your treatment plan.
A large study published in JAMA found that TIMI risk scores are useful and accurate at predicting a future heart event. Study authors found increasing risk scores led to an increase in the rate of events.
The researchers also pointed out that the TIMI tool is simple to use, and unlike other scoring systems, doesn’t require a computer or calculator to tabulate.
While TIMI is one valuable predictive tool, your physician might use other methods (with or without TIMI) to assess your risk.
Doctors typically use the TIMI score on a select group of people with heart conditions that meet a certain criterion. This means not every person will be given a TIMI score.
Knowing your risk for having a heart attack or other heart-related event can be extremely helpful to your healthcare provider.
Your score may help your physician come up with a treatment strategy. For example, if your TIMI score is on the high side, your physician might want to treat your condition more aggressively or pursue other kinds of medical intervention.
You can lower your score, and your risk for a heart-related event, by:
- eating healthy, whole foods
- exercising daily
- maintaining a healthy weight
- avoiding cigarette smoking and limiting alcohol consumption
- keeping cholesterol and blood pressure levels in check
- managing diabetes (if you’re diabetic)
- lowering stress levels
Talk to your doctor if you have any questions about your TIMI score. Your healthcare provider should be able to explain your results in a way that you can easily understand.