Predicted and observed cardiovascular disease in South Asians: application of FINRISK, Framingham and SCORE models to Newcastle Heart Project data

J Public Health (Oxf). 2005 Mar;27(1):93-100. doi: 10.1093/pubmed/fdh202.


Background: South Asian populations in the United Kingdom have a high risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality. Risk prediction models appear to be inaccurate in South Asians.

Objective: To explore the predictive capacity of the FINRISK, Framingham (1991) and SCORE risk prediction models in the Newcastle Heart Project population (n = 1301).

Methods: Mortality data for England and Wales were used to define the expected ranking of CVD risk by country of birth. CVD mortality in the Newcastle Heart Project sample was examined. Risk factor measures were obtained from the Newcastle Heart Project, where 90 percent of South Asians were born in the Indian Subcontinent. The predicted outcomes for FINRISK were acute myocardial infarction and CHD mortality, for Framingham CHD mortality, myocardial infarction, new angina and coronary insufficiency and for SCORE CHD and non-CHD CVD mortality.

Results: The FINRISK model predicted in South Asian men combined, compared with Europeans, a risk ratio of 122 per cent (SMR 142) with substantial subgroup heterogeneity, e.g. 154 per cent in Bangladeshis (SMR 151), 129 per cent in Pakistanis (SMR 148), 99 per cent in Indians (SMR 142). The FINRISK risk ratios for South Asian women combined were 160 per cent (SMR 145), for Bangladeshis 184 per cent (SMR 91), Pakistanis 172 per cent (SMR 111) and for Indians 145 per cent (SMR 158). The Framingham model results were very similar to FINRISK, but the SCORE model showed comparatively low 10 year risk in all South Asian groups. Both the Framingham stroke model and the SCORE non-CHD CVD model predicted comparatively low rates, while national data showed these to be high. Control of the five major risk factors was modelled by FINRISK to reduce risk by about 59 per cent in South Asian men and 67 per cent in South Asian women, with some subgroup heterogeneity, compared to 50 per cent in European men and 48 per cent in European women. The Framingham model results were similar. The absolute rates for each ethnic group varied by model.

Conclusion: The Framingham and FINRISK models gave similar results, mostly following expected patterns, but the SCORE model did not, probably reflecting its lack of inclusion of HDL and diabetes as risk factors. National mortality data and modelled predictions agreed reasonably well for South Asians combined, and Bangladeshi and Pakistani men, but not for Indian men and Pakistani and Bangladeshi women. The varying rates show the limits of modelling. The models suggest the potential gains from controlling major established risk factors could be substantial in South Asians and greater than in Europeans.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Asian People / classification
  • Asian People / statistics & numerical data*
  • Bangladesh / ethnology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / classification
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / ethnology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / mortality*
  • England / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • India / ethnology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Pakistan / ethnology
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Risk Assessment / methods*
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Wales / epidemiology
  • White People / statistics & numerical data