Author(s): Hugo C van Woerden
Background The ten year probability of cardiovascular events can be calculated, but many people are unaware of their risk and unclear how to reduce it. The aim of this study was to assess whether a community based intervention, for men and women aged between 45 and 64 years without pre-existing coronary heart disease, would reduce their Framingham scores when reassessed one year later.
Methods Individuals in the relevant age group from a defined geographical area were sent an invitation to attend for an assessment of their cardiovascular risk. Individuals with pre-existing cardiovascular disease or terminal illness were excluded. The invitation was in the form of a "Many Happy Returns" card with a number of self-screening questions including the question, "If you put the enclosed string around your waist, is it too short?" The card contained a red 80 cm piece of string in the case of women, or a green 90 cm piece of string in the case of men. At the assessment appointment, Framingham scores were calculated and a printout was given to each individual. Advice was provided for relevant risk factors identified using agreed guidelines. If appropriate, onward referral was also made to a GP, dietician, an exercise referral scheme, or to smoking cessation services, using a set of guidelines. Individuals were sent a second invitation one year later to return for re-assessment.
Results and discussion 2031 individuals were asked to self-assess their eligibility to participate, 596 individuals attended for assessment and 313 of these attended for follow-up one year later. The mean reduction in the Framingham risk score, was significantly lower at one year (0.876, 95% CI 0.211 to 1.541, p = 0.01). The mean 10-year risk of CHD at baseline was 13.14% (SD 9.18) and had fallen at follow-up to 12.34% (SD 8.71), a mean reduction of 6.7% of the initial 10-year Framingham risk. If sustained, the estimated NNT to prevent each year of CHD would be 1141 (95% CI 4739 to 649) individual appointments.
Conclusion This community intervention for primary prevention of CHD reduces Framingham risk scores at one year in those who engage with the programme.