Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Identifying men at high risk of heart attacks: strategy for use in general practice.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1986; 293 doi: (Published 23 August 1986) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1986;293:474
  1. A G Shaper,
  2. S J Pocock,
  3. A N Phillips,
  4. M Walker


    A strategy was devised for identifying men at high risk of acute myocardial infarction or sudden ischaemic death. A risk score was devised using cigarette smoking, mean blood pressure, recall of ischaemic heart disease or diabetes mellitus diagnosed by a doctor, history of parental death from "heart trouble," and the presence of angina reported on a questionnaire. The top fifth of the score distribution identified 53% of ischaemic heart disease cases--that is, men who subsequently experienced major ischaemic heart disease over the next five years. The addition of serum total cholesterol concentration and electrocardiographic evidence only slightly improved prediction (to 59%) and would have considerably increased the cost and effort of screening. Using this risk score on an opportunistic basis could be particularly valuable in general practice. Management of this high risk group is regarded as appropriate medical care and is complementary to the population approach to preventing ischaemic heart disease. Such a strategy for reducing the incidence of and mortality from ischaemic heart disease in men at high risk would also increase professional and public awareness of the need for preventive action.