Chronic heart failure

December 2010


Cardiovascular absolute risk assessment and management

Engagement and outcomes in general practice patients

Volume 39, No.12, December 2010 Pages 954-958

Qing Wan

Nicholas A Zwar

Sanjyot Vagholkar

Terry Campbell

Mark F Harris


To explore patients’ engagement and outcomes in cardiovascular absolute risk assessment and management in general practice.


In depth interviews (25 with patients, five with general practitioners) were conducted. Questionnaires and medical record audits were used to collect quantitative information before and after the intervention.


Patient self assessment of risk before consultation helped to motivate and reinforce patient self care and to prompt GPs to initiate risk discussion. General practitioners’ use of a cardiovascular absolute risk calculator as an aid in making decisions and in negotiating and sharing care with patients helped engage patients during the consultations and motivate them to change their behaviours. Cardiovascular absolute risk consultations improved patients’ understanding and awareness of cardiovascular disease risk and self management in the short term.


The study demonstrates that a feasible intervention for cardiovascular absolute risk assessment and management in primary care settings had a positive effect on patient attitudes and engagement in their own care for heart risk.

Despite a decline in recent decades, cardiovascular disease (CVD) remains the major cause of death and disability in Australia.1,2 To improve primary prevention of CVD, many clinical guidelines recommend using cardiovascular absolute risk (CVAR) assessment to guide risk factor management.3–6 Cardiovascular absolute risk assessment predicts the overall risk of a cardiovascular event over a given time period (usually 5 or 10 years). However, use of CVAR is limited and has not been incorporated well in routine general practice.7–9 There has been little research on CVAR implementation and an effective implementation strategy has been lacking.10

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