The Sandwell Project: a controlled evaluation of a programme of targeted screening for prevention of cardiovascular disease in primary care

BMC Public Health. 2008 Feb 25:8:73. doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-8-73.


Background: A pilot cardiovascular disease prevention project was implemented in the inner-city West Midlands. It was evaluated by comparing its effectiveness to a control group where full implementation was delayed by a year.

Methods: Cardiovascular risk factor data were extracted on all untreated patients 35 to 74 years old from electronic medical databases in six general practices. A best estimate of ten-year CVD risk cardiovascular risk was calculated on all patients using the extracted risk factor data. Default risk-factor values were used for all missing risk factor data. High risk patients were thus identified. In four practices a project nurse systematically invited, assessed and referred high risk patients for treatment. Two control practices were provided with a list of their high risk patients. The outcomes were the proportions of untreated high-risk patients who were assessed, identified as eligible for treatment and treated under two strategies for identifying and treating such patients in primary care.

Results: Of all high-risk patients suitable for inclusion in the project, 40.6% (95% CI: 36.7 to 45.7%) of patients in intervention practices were started on treatment were started on at least one treatment, compared to 12.7% (95% CI: 9.8% to 16.1%) in control practices.

Conclusion: A strategy using electronic primary care records to identify high risk patients for CVD prevention works best with a process for acting on information, ensuring patients are invited, assessed and treated.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / diagnosis
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Coronary Disease / mortality
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects
  • Preventive Health Services / methods*
  • Primary Health Care*
  • Program Evaluation
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology