A polygenic risk score added to a QRISK®2 cardiovascular disease risk calculator demonstrated robust clinical acceptance and clinical utility in the primary care setting

Eur J Prev Cardiol. 2024 Apr 18;31(6):716-722. doi: 10.1093/eurjpc/zwae004.


Aims: The aim of the study was to assess the real-world feasibility, acceptability, and impact of an integrated risk tool for cardiovascular disease (CVD IRT, combining the standard QRISK®2 risk algorithm with a polygenic risk score), implemented within routine primary practice in the UK National Health Service.

Methods and results: The Healthcare Evaluation of Absolute Risk Testing Study (NCT05294419) evaluated participants undergoing primary care health checks. Both QRISK2 and CVD IRT scores were returned to the healthcare providers (HCPs), who then communicated the results to participants. The primary outcome of the study was feasibility of CVD IRT implementation. Secondary outcomes included changes in CVD risk (QRISK2 vs. CVD IRT) and impact of the CVD IRT on clinical decision-making. A total of 832 eligible participants (median age 55 years, 62% females, 97.5% White ethnicity) were enrolled across 12 UK primary care practices. Cardiovascular disease IRT scores were obtained on 100% of the blood samples. Healthcare providers stated that the CVD IRT could be incorporated into routine primary care in a straightforward manner in 90.7% of reports. Participants stated they were 'likely' or 'very likely' to recommend the use of this test to their family or friends in 86.9% of reports. Participants stated that the test was personally useful (98.8%) and that the results were easy to understand (94.6%). When CVD IRT exceeded QRISK2, HCPs planned changes in management for 108/388 (27.8%) of participants and 47% (62/132) of participants with absolute risk score changes of >2%.

Conclusion: Amongst HCPs and participants who agreed to the trial of genetic data for refinement of clinical risk prediction in primary care, we observed that CVD IRT implementation was feasible and well accepted. The CVD IRT results were associated with planned changes in prevention strategies.

Keywords: Cardiovascular disease risk; Clinical utility; Genetics; Implementation; Polygenic risk score; Primary care.

Plain language summary

When a standard cardiovascular risk tool, as currently used in National Health Service Health Checks, was expanded to include genetic risk information, it was well accepted by both participants and healthcare providers and generated impactful changes in planned clinical decision-making.Most participants found the test useful and easy to understand, and healthcare providers found it straightforward to use in most cases.When risk was increased by the addition of genetic information, this influenced planned management decisions.

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases* / prevention & control
  • Female
  • Genetic Risk Score*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Primary Health Care
  • Risk Factors
  • State Medicine

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