MAR 27, 2015 05:16 AM PDT

New Model for Predicting Heart Disease Risk Worldwide

WRITTEN BY: Judy O'Rourke
Researchers have developed the first global model for predicting cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk. The model-developed by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Imperial College London, and colleagues-will be of particular help to clinicians in developing countries for prevention of CVD.

"This new tool allows healthcare professionals around the world to make optimal clinical decisions about treatment of their patients and for health policy makers to efficiently allocate resources to CVD prevention," says Goodarz Danaei, MD, assistant professor of global health at Harvard Chan School, Boston.

To develop the model, which will be available later this year at www.globorisk.org, the researchers analyzed data from more than 50,000 participants in eight existing long-term studies, which included risk factors such as blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, and smoking, as well as gender and age.

The researchers generated risk charts that estimated risk of fatal CVD over a span of 10 years for 11 countries in different regions of the world. The risk of fatal CVD was lowest in South Korea, Spain, Japan, and Denmark, and highest in the Czech Republic, China, Iran, and Mexico. In the former group of countries, only 5 percent to 10 percent of men and women had more than a 10 percent risk of fatal CVD. But in China, 33 percent of men and 28 percent of women had a 10-year fatal CVD risk of 10 percent or higher. In Mexico the prevalence of high-risk CVD was 16 percent for men and 11 percent for women.

The researchers found that more people were at high risk of CVD in many developing countries compared with developed ones. Within developed countries, they found that the United States had a larger share of its population at high risk of CVD than England, Japan, South Korea, Denmark, or Spain.

The results emphasize the need to use the current momentum for universal health coverage to ensure that people at high risk of CVD in low- and middle-income countries receive the same basic treatments available to those in the high-income world. The US results also demonstrate the urgent need for equitable access to primary health care as a tool for CVD prevention, the researchers say.

The article is "Globorisk - A novel risk score for predicting cardiovascular disease risk in national populations: a pooled analysis of prospective cohorts and health examination surveys."

[Source: Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health]
About the Author
  • Judy O'Rourke worked as a newspaper reporter before becoming chief editor of Clinical Lab Products magazine. As a freelance writer today, she is interested in finding the story behind the latest developments in medicine and science, and in learning what lies ahead.
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