Refined cardiovascular risk equations published

8 May 2018

Research focused on predicting risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and diabetes for New Zealand’s unique populations has come up with one of the first tangible ‘products’ from the Healther Lives research portfolio.

The research has produced new risk assessments to provide doctors with better tools to more accurately predict someone’s risk of CVD or diabetes. Potentially more patients who are at higher risk will be picked up early and treated more effectively.

The work was published in the prestigious journal, The Lancet, earlier this month and a Ministry of Health expert group on CVD risk assessment and management has endorsed the revised CVD Risk Assessment equations that came from the research.

Rod Jackson profile
Prof Rod Jackson

The uniquely New Zealand equations have been integrated into the Ministry of Health’s New Zealand Guidelines for CVD Risk Assessment and Management for Primary Care. The Ministry is supporting a national programme to roll out the equations to general practices (GPs) around New Zealand.

Early detection and better treatment is one of the keys to reducing the health burden of diseases such as CVD and diabetes. New Zealand has led the world in developing cardiovascular risk assessment approaches and introduced population based screening for risk factors for CVD and diabetes in the early 2000s. But doctors were using risk predictions and treatments based on other countries’ data, which did not reflect our ethnicities – known to have different rates/risk for these diseases. By using NZ big data to predict and make these assessments, doctors will be able to better treat all our populations.

The research used PREDICT software and data from more than 400,000 people, (including 55,000 Māori, 55,000 Pacific and 35,000 people of Indian descent). These data were linked to Statistics NZ’s Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI) to produce the equations, which give a detailed picture of individuals’ health, and build an overall picture of different ethnic groups’ risk factors. Patient privacy is protected because all the individual data is anonymised.

Professor Rod Jackson and Dr Katrina Poppe from the University of Auckland’s School of Population Health led the development of the equations. Professor Jackson said:  “Unless risk of cardiovascular disease is estimated using equations from modern populations that represent the patients they are applied to, there could be substantial underestimation or overestimation of risk, and therefore substantial undertreatment or overtreatment is likely.”

*This research was co-funded by the Health Research Council of New Zealand, Heart Foundation of New Zealand, and Healthier Lives National Science Challenge.

Read the full study here:

Cardiovascular disease risk prediction equations in 400 000 primary care patients in New Zealand: a derivation and validation study The Lancet (2018) 391:10133

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Cardiovascular disease risk prediction equations published in The Lancet – University of Auckland

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Māori, Pasifika and South Asians at greater risk of cardiovascular disease – study – RadioNZ

“Professor Predict” and his algorithm for calculating your heart attack risk and treatment – Noted, October 2016

More about the Equitable CVD and diabetes risk prediction project:

Equitable CVD and diabetes risk prediction research page

Crunching the data to improve Kiwi’s health

Te Papa Hauora’s We’re talking health… ‘Averting the Grim Reaper’ Vimeo (10m 14s), June 2018

View our 2019-24 Research Strategy

He Pikinga Waiora Research Findings Brief

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