Effectiveness of the Heart Age tool for improving modifiable cardiovascular risk factors in a Southern European population: a randomized trial

Eur J Prev Cardiol. 2015 Mar;22(3):389-96. doi: 10.1177/2047487313518479. Epub 2014 Feb 3.


Aims: To test whether communicating cardiovascular diseases (CVD) risk using a novel risk assessment tool (Heart Age) will be able to motivate a population to adopt healthier lifestyles and improve CVD risk profile over the use of a traditional percentage-based tool.

Methods: A single-blind randomized intervention study was carried out in a Caucasian population. A total of 3153 subjects were randomly allocated to one of three study groups: control (conventional medical advice was given to the subjects), Framingham REGICOR (10-year percentage risk score, calibrated to Spanish population was given to the subjects), or Heart Age group (Heart Age tool was administered to the subjects). Anthropometrical and metabolic parameters were measured and lifestyle habits were recorded at recruitment and 12-months post intervention.

Results: Both the Framingham REGICOR and the Heart Age intervention groups demonstrated significant decreases in their risk scores at post intervention compared to the control group, with the improvement being of a greater magnitude in the Heart Age group. No differences per gender were observed in the Heart Age group.

Conclusions: Informing patients about their CVD risk expressed as the new Heart Age tool results in a reduction in their CVD risk higher than the one observed when the Framingham REGICOR risk score was used.

Keywords: Cardiovascular disease; gender; heart age; prevention; risk communication; risk factors.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / diagnosis
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / ethnology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / psychology
  • Communication
  • Decision Support Techniques*
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivation
  • Patient Education as Topic*
  • Preventive Health Services
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Risk Reduction Behavior
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Spain / epidemiology
  • Time Factors
  • White People / psychology*