Background Australian general practitioners are encouraged to assess absolute
cardiovascular risk (CVR) using a CVR calculator such as the New
Zealand Cardiovascular Risk Calculator. However, overseas research
suggests that the use of these tools is problematic. Australian data on
CVR calculator use is lacking.
Discussion A better understanding is needed of how to incorporate CVR
calculations into every day clinical practice in a way that both
estimates risk accurately and engages and educates patients.
Ongoing research into effective GP led interventions that can assist
patients to reduce lifestyle risk factors is needed.
Results Most GPs surveyed (63%) used a CVR calculator. In their responses,
they said they felt successful at managing patients with medical
risk factors that could be treated with medication; when it came to
their ability to influence lifestyle risk factors however, they were
generally pessimistic. Absolute CVR was more likely to be under- or
over-estimated by GPs surveyed than estimated correctly. But when
asked to prioritise their management strategies, GPs mainly favoured
interventions that could result in meaningful reductions in CVR
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