The Dutch SCORE-based risk charts seriously underestimate the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Netherlands heart journal : monthly journal of the Netherlands Society of Cardiology and the Netherlands Heart Foundation 2016 ; 25: 173-180.
PubMed ID : 27943174
PMCID : PMC5313447
Dutch cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevention guidelines recommend the use of modified SCORE risk charts to estimate 10-year risk of fatal and nonfatal CVD (myocardial infarction, cerebrovascular disease and congestive heart failure). This combined risk is derived from the SCORE mortality risk using multipliers. These multipliers have been shown to underestimate overall CVD risk. We aimed to compare the current Dutch risk charts with charts that estimate a broader range of clinically relevant CVD using updated multipliers.
We constructed new risk charts for 10-year CVD using updated, recently published multipliers from the EPIC-Norfolk study, based on ratios of fatal CVD to clinically relevant CVD (fatal plus nonfatal CVD requiring hospitalisation for ischaemic heart disease, cardiac failure, cerebrovascular disease, peripheral artery disease, and aortic aneurysm). Our primary outcome was the proportion of the three risk categories, i. e. 'high risk' (>20% 10-year risk), 'intermediate risk' (10-19%) and 'low risk' (<10%) in the new risk charts as compared with the current risk charts.
Applying the updated fatal CVD/clinical CVD multipliers led to a marked increase in the high-risk categories (109 (27%) vs. 244 (61%), (p < 0.001)), an absolute increase of 229%. Similarly, the number of low-risk categories decreased (190 (48%) vs. 81 (20%) (p < 0.001)).
The current Dutch risk charts seriously underestimate the risk of clinical CVD, even in the first 10 years. Even when analyses are restricted to CVD events that required hospitalisation, true 10-year risks are more than double the currently estimated risks. Future guidelines may be revised to reflect these findings.