Who exceeds ATP-III risk thresholds? Systematic examination of the effect of varying age and risk factor levels in the ATP-III risk assessment tool

Prev Med. 2008 Dec;47(6):619-23. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2008.07.012. Epub 2008 Jul 29.


Objective: We sought to determine the levels of risk factors required to exceed threshold values of intermediate (> or = 10%) or high (> 20%) predicted 10-year risk for coronary heart disease using the Adult Treatment Panel III (ATP-III) Risk Assessment Tool.

Methods: Continuous risk factor values were entered into the risk assessment tool to examine levels of predicted 10-year risk. Both individual risk factors and the joint effects of varying multiple risk factors were systematically examined.

Results: Women only exceed 10% risk at ages > or = 70 with single risk factors of HDL-cholesterol levels < 30 mg/dL or systolic blood pressure > 170 mm Hg. Women < or = 65 only exceed 10% risk if they are smokers with low HDL-cholesterol levels. In contrast, single risk factors can cause men over 45 to exceed 10% or 20% predicted 10-year risk. Combinations of only modestly elevated risk factors cause many men to exceed 10% risk at ages > or = 45, and to exceed 20% risk at ages > or = 55.

Conclusions: Because such high-risk factor levels are required for men < 45 years and women < 65 years to exceed ATP-III risk thresholds, additional means for risk communication may be needed for individuals with elevated risk factors in these age ranges.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Coronary Disease / etiology*
  • Coronary Disease / prevention & control
  • Female
  • Forecasting
  • Humans
  • Hypercholesterolemia / classification
  • Hypercholesterolemia / complications*
  • Hypertension / complications*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Assessment / classification*
  • Risk Assessment / methods*
  • Sex Factors
  • Smoking / adverse effects*
  • Time Factors