Study backs use of new heart risk tool

A cardiovascular risk assessment tool specific to the UK population has proved its worth in an independent validation study of more than a million UK patients, say its developers.

Compared with Framingham, the tool developed in the US in the 1970s and still used in the UK, QRISK was better at classifying patients into high or low categories of cardiovascular risk. This is important when deciding if people have a 20 per cent risk of a cardiovascular event in 10 years, thereby making them eligible for statin therapy.

QRISK also differs from Framingham by taking deprivation into account.

Depending on a NICE guideline, QRISK could be used instead of Framingham across the UK to assess cardiovascular risk.

Lead researcher Dr Peter Brindle, a GP and research and development lead for Bristol PCT, said: 'There will be a large number of people willing to use QRISK because of problems with health inequalities in the UK. Continuing to use Framingham could exacerbate health inequalities.'

Kent GP Dr Rubin Minhas, CHD lead for Medway PCT, said: 'QRISK could prevent thousands being unnecessarily treated. But, independent evaluation by NICE is needed.'

rachel.liddle@haymarket.com

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