Background: This study was designed to investigate general practitioners' knowledge of absolute risk estimation, and whether they used it to guide their management of cardiovascular disease.
Method: A cross sectional postal self administered survey of GPs in the General Practice South Division in southern Tasmania.
Results: A total of 56-62% of responders correctly answered knowledge questions, which could be as low as 33-36% when corrected for nonresponse bias. A cardiovascular risk calculator was used by 72% (as low as 42% when corrected for nonresponse bias); of these, 93% used them to motivate lifestyle change and for education, and 66% used them to assist disease management. General practitioners who used risk calculators tended to rate some factors more highly as contributing to cardiovascular disease, such as Aboriginality and diabetes.
Discussion: Many GPs were using absolute risk calculators, and most used them appropriately as decision making tools, not just for education or motivation. Further education of GPs about cardiovascular risk is still indicated.