The use of family history in the risk assessment and primary prevention of heart disease

1 January 2005 - 1 March 2008

Awarded to: Professor  John Dupré

Co-investigators: Dr Hannah Farrimond

Research partners: University of Nottingham, UCL, CDC Washington

Sponsor(s): Department of Health

Project webpage(s)

The use of family history in the risk assessment and primary prevention of heart disease

About the project

Qualitative and local study lead, Paula Saukko, (Egenis.) Overall project lead Dr Nadeem Qureshi (University of Nottingham).

Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the leading cause of mortality in the developed world. Epidemiological and genetic studies have indicated that CHD has a genetic component but genetic tests for a susceptibility to heart disease are not on the cards any time soon. Family history of heart disease is, however, a proven risk factor for heart attack and angina, and clinicians are encouraged to assess it as part of global risk evaluation for CHD (which also includes assessment of cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes and smoking). Clinicians and practice nurses, however, rarely take family history of CHD, and the clinical utility and patient implications of this assessment have not really been evaluated. Knowledge of the impact of family history assessment is therefore needed, particularly as taking family history is increasingly suggested as a preventive strategy for a number of common illnesses.