Does informing patients about their coronary heart disease (CHD) risk lead to an improvement in that risk? And how many times do they need to be told? Current AHA prevention guidelines advise that patients over forty are informed of their global CHD risk in the hope that this will help to motivate adherence to risk-reducing behaviours and therapies.Sheridan et al. performed a meta-analysis of 20 studies (including 18 unique fair or good quality studies) that examined the impact of informing patients of their CHD risk. Studies providing global risk information at only one point in time appeared ineffective, however studies that had given repeated risk information and counseling showed a small but significant reduction in predicted CHD risk (absolute differences, -0.2% to -2% over ten years in studies using Framingham risk estimates).
Informing patients over their global CHD risk may lead to a reduction in their predicted risk, however this information may have to be conveyed on a number of occasions, and using a variety of different measures. Other measures, such as medication adherence aids, may help to reduce this risk even further.
Sheridan S, Viera A, Krantz M, et al. The effect of giving global coronary risk information to adults. Arch Intern Med 2010; 170:230-239.