Measuring the effects of CVD interventions and studies across socioeconomic groups: A brief review

Int J Cardiol. 2017 Jan 15;227:635-643. doi: 10.1016/j.ijcard.2016.10.085. Epub 2016 Oct 31.


There is a known socioeconomic skew in prevalence and outcomes of cardiovascular disease (CVD). To document the proportion of clinical trials and observational studies related to CVD recently published in peer-reviewed journals that report the socio-economic distributional differences in their outcomes. We undertook a review of peer-reviewed clinical trials and observational studies relating to CVD published between 01/06/2015-31/12/2015 in PubMed; and identified the proportion that included measures of socioeconomic status and the proportion that stratified results by, or controlled for, socioeconomic status when reporting outcomes. 414 peer reviewed publications reporting the outcomes of clinical trials or observational studies that related to CVD were identified. 32 of these reported on the socioeconomic status of participants. Of these, 20 stratified the results by socioeconomic status or adjusted the results for socioeconomic status. 18 studies measured education attainment, 5 measured income, 1 measured rurality and 1 measured occupation. Of the 414 articles reporting the outcomes of clinical trials or observational studies related to cardiovascular disease in 2015, the effectiveness of the intervention, or the differences in outcomes, between socioeconomic groups was assessed in 5% of studies. This lack of consideration of the effectiveness of trial outcomes or the differences in outcomes across socioeconomic groups impairs the ability of readers, healthcare professionals and policy makers to assess the impact of new treatments or interventions in closing the inequality gap associated with CVD.

Keywords: Inequality; Measurement; Outcomes; RCT; SES.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases / economics*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / therapy*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic / economics
  • Clinical Trials as Topic / methods
  • Humans
  • Observational Studies as Topic / economics
  • Observational Studies as Topic / methods
  • Social Class*
  • Socioeconomic Factors*