Article Text

Impact of provision of cardiovascular disease risk estimates to healthcare professionals and patients: a systematic review
  1. Juliet A Usher-Smith1,
  2. Barbora Silarova2,
  3. Ewoud Schuit3,4,
  4. Karel GM Moons3,
  5. Simon J Griffin1,2
  1. 1The Primary Care Unit, University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine, Cambridge, UK
  2. 2MRC Epidemiology Unit, University of Cambridge, Institute of Metabolic Science, Cambridge, UK
  3. 3Julius Centre for Health Sciences and Primary Care, University Medical Centre Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands
  4. 4Stanford Prevention Research Center, Stanford University, Stanford, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Juliet Usher-Smith; jau20{at}


Objective To systematically review whether the provision of information on cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk to healthcare professionals and patients impacts their decision-making, behaviour and ultimately patient health.

Design A systematic review.

Data sources An electronic literature search of MEDLINE and PubMed from 01/01/2004 to 01/06/2013 with no language restriction and manual screening of reference lists of systematic reviews on similar topics and all included papers.

Eligibility criteria for selecting studies (1) Primary research published in a peer-reviewed journal; (2) inclusion of participants with no history of CVD; (3) intervention strategy consisted of provision of a CVD risk model estimate to either professionals or patients; and (4) the only difference between the intervention group and control group (or the only intervention in the case of before-after studies) was the provision of a CVD risk model estimate.

Results After duplicates were removed, the initial electronic search identified 9671 papers. We screened 196 papers at title and abstract level and included 17 studies. The heterogeneity of the studies limited the analysis, but together they showed that provision of risk information to patients improved the accuracy of risk perception without decreasing quality of life or increasing anxiety, but had little effect on lifestyle. Providing risk information to physicians increased prescribing of lipid-lowering and blood pressure medication, with greatest effects in those with CVD risk >20% (relative risk for change in prescribing 2.13 (1.02 to 4.63) and 2.38 (1.11 to 5.10) respectively). Overall, there was a trend towards reductions in cholesterol and blood pressure and a statistically significant reduction in modelled CVD risk (−0.39% (−0.71 to −0.07)) after, on average, 12 months.

Conclusions There seems evidence that providing CVD risk model estimates to professionals and patients improves perceived CVD risk and medical prescribing, with little evidence of harm on psychological well-being.


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