Updated guidance is being published to help health professionals assess and discuss cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk with their patients to manage risk factors.
The Cardiovascular Disease Risk Assessment and Management for Primary Care document has been produced by the Ministry of Health working with experts in the field.
Among the major points are:
CVD risk assessment and management is now based on new risk prediction equations that draw on New Zealand specific information gathered from more than 400,000 people.
- CVD risk assessments should start at age 45 for men, and age 55 for women.
- For Maori, Pacific and South Asian populations, and those with known significant risk factors, assessment should start at 30 for men, and 40 for women.
- CVD risk assessment and management should be part of the annual review for diabetes patients.
- Updated information around management of cholesterol and blood pressure with suggested treatment goals in high risk patients
- Acknowledging the increased burden of CVD in people with severe mental illness, CVD assessment recommended from age 25.
- A continued emphasis on a healthy lifestyle as an important preventative measure.
Dr Gerry Devlin, Clinical Lead Cardiac Services, Ministry of Health says the guidance has been robustly developed, after much discussion by clinical experts.
"CVD remains the leading cause of health loss in New Zealanders and health professionals are on the frontline for identifying risk and helping patients reduce their chance of developing CVD,” says Dr Devlin.
In 2015 the Ministry commissioned the Heart Foundation to review relevant evidence on CVD risk assessment and management.
As part of the evidential review, the University of Auckland provided research around new risk prediction equations for New Zealand specific populations.
The review considered international evidence and practices in place since 2011, when CVD guidance had last been updated.