Background: This study aimed to evaluate the yield of the NHS Health Checks programme.
Methods: A cohort study, conducted in the Clinical Practice Research Datalink in England. Electronic health records were analysed for patients aged 40-74 receiving an NHS Health Check between 2010 and 2013.
Results: There were 65 324 men and 75 032 women receiving a health check. For every 1000 men assessed, there were 205 smokers (95% confidence interval 195-215), 355 (340-369) with hypertension (≥140/90 mmHg) and 633 (607-658) with elevated cholesterol (≥5 mmol/l). Among 1000 women, there were 161 (151-171) smokers, 247 (238-257) with hypertension and 668 (646-689) with elevated cholesterol. In the 12 months following the check, statins were prescribed to 18% of men and 21% of women with ≥20% cardiovascular risk and antihypertensive drugs to 11% of men and 16% of women with ≥20% cardiovascular risk. Slight reductions in risk factor values were observed in the minority of participants with follow-up values recorded in the 15 months following the check.
Conclusions: A universal primary prevention programme identifies substantial risk factor burden in a population without known cardiovascular disease. Research is needed to monitor interventions, and intermediate- and long-term outcomes, in those identified at high risk.
Keywords: circulatory disease; electronic health records; primary care; screening.
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