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New Heart Disease Risk Score Will Help Minimise Health Inequalities

s tracked the progress of 1.28 million healthy men and women, registered at 318 general practices over a period of 12 years to April 2007, recording first diagnosis of cardiovascular disease. All the participants were aged between 35 and 74 at the start of the study.

They found that the QRISK score was more accurate than either Framingham or ASSIGN. In patients aged 35-74, Framingham over-predicted cardiovascular disease risk at 10 years by 35%, ASSIGN by 36% and QRISK by 0.4%. QRISK predicted 9% of patients aged 35-74 years to be at high risk compared with 13% for the Framingham equation and 14% for ASSIGN.

Using this more focused tool for risk estimation, the research team estimate that 34% of women and 73% of men aged 64-75 would be at high risk compared with 24% and 86% according to the Framingham equation.

QRISK would also identify a different group of patients than the Framingham equation, with one in ten patients being reclassified into high or low risk, they say. QRISK is likely to provide more appropriate risk estimates of cardiovascular disease risk based on age, sex and social deprivation, write the authors. It is therefore likely to be a more equitable tool to inform management decisions and help ensure treatments are directed towards those most likely to benefit.

In people under 75 years without pre-existing cardiovascular disease or diabetes QRISK identifies 3.2 million patients at high risk in 2005, compared with 4.7 million from Framingham and 5.1 million from ASSIGN.

They suggest that QRISK should be further tested in other populations, but point out that this is the largest such study to have ever been undertaken, and the first time routine data in a UK general practice population have been used in this way.

Study leader, Professor Julia Hippisley-Cox said QRISK is derived from primary care data for use in primary care, and takes account of social deprivation to bet
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