Purpose of review: Cardiovascular risk scoring is incorporated in guidelines and recommended for targeting preventive treatment. Evidence is required on the most appropriate method, its accuracy in a given population, and its effectiveness in favourably influencing clinical behaviour and health outcomes.
Recent findings: Recent risk scores address inaccuracies that arise when methods are transferred between populations, and specific methods and recalibrations are described for use in low-risk populations. Ethnic and social differences in risk are also recognized in the context of cardiovascular risk scoring. More sensitive measures of known risk factors and numerous emerging risk factors are reported and new statistical methods and sources of data suggested. Little emphasis has been placed on evaluation of the clinical effectiveness of cardiovascular risk scores. Education in cardiovascular risk assessment may help improve uptake of methods by healthcare professionals.
Summary: Numerous risk scoring methods are available to the healthcare professional but use is patchy. Accuracy varies between populations and methods have been developed to compensate for some of this variability. If risk scoring methods are to be widely used in general practice, evidence is required on both the accuracy of methods in appropriate populations and their effectiveness in improving health outcomes.