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Derivation and validation of QRISK, a new cardiovascular disease risk score for the United Kingdom: prospective open cohort study

BMJ 2007; 335 doi: (Published 19 July 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;335:136
  1. Julia Hippisley-Cox, professor of clinical epidemiology and general practice1,
  2. Carol Coupland, senior lecturer in medical statistics1,
  3. Yana Vinogradova, research fellow in medical statistics1,
  4. John Robson, senior lecturer in general practice2,
  5. Margaret May, research fellow in medical statistics3,
  6. Peter Brindle, research and development strategy lead4
  1. 1Tower Building, University Park, Nottingham NG2 7RD
  2. 2Centre for Health Sciences, Queen Mary's School of Medicine and Dentistry, London
  3. 3Department of Social Medicine, University of Bristol
  4. 4Avon Primary Care Research Collaborative, Bristol Primary Care Trust
  1. Correspondence to: J Hippisley-Cox
  • Accepted 27 June 2007


Objective To derive a new cardiovascular disease risk score (QRISK) for the United Kingdom and to validate its performance against the established Framingham cardiovascular disease algorithm and a newly developed Scottish score (ASSIGN).

Design Prospective open cohort study using routinely collected data from general practice.

Setting UK practices contributing to the QRESEARCH database.

Participants The derivation cohort consisted of 1.28 million patients, aged 35-74 years, registered at 318 practices between 1 January 1995 and 1 April 2007 and who were free of diabetes and existing cardiovascular disease. The validation cohort consisted of 0.61 million patients from 160 practices.

Main outcome measures First recorded diagnosis of cardiovascular disease (incident diagnosis between 1 January 1995 and 1 April 2007): myocardial infarction, coronary heart disease, stroke, and transient ischaemic attacks. Risk factors were age, sex, smoking status, systolic blood pressure, ratio of total serum cholesterol to high density lipoprotein, body mass index, family history of coronary heart disease in first degree relative aged less than 60, area measure of deprivation, and existing treatment with antihypertensive agent.

Results A cardiovascular disease risk algorithm (QRISK) was developed in the derivation cohort. In the validation cohort the observed 10 year risk of a cardiovascular event was 6.60% (95% confidence interval 6.48% to 6.72%) in women and 9.28% (9.14% to 9.43%) in men. Overall the Framingham algorithm over-predicted cardiovascular disease risk at 10 years by 35%, ASSIGN by 36%, and QRISK by 0.4%. Measures of discrimination tended to be higher for QRISK than for the Framingham algorithm and it was better calibrated to the UK population than either the Framingham or ASSIGN models. Using QRISK 8.5% of patients aged 35-74 are at high risk (20% risk or higher over 10 years) compared with 13% when using the Framingham algorithm and 14% when using ASSIGN. Using QRISK 34% of women and 73% of men aged 64-75 would be at high risk compared with 24% and 86% according to the Framingham algorithm. UK estimates for 2005 based on QRISK give 3.2 million patients aged 35-74 at high risk, with the Framingham algorithm predicting 4.7 million and ASSIGN 5.1 million. Overall, 53 668 patients in the validation dataset (9% of the total) would be reclassified from high to low risk or vice versa using QRISK compared with the Framingham algorithm.

Conclusion QRISK performed at least as well as the Framingham model for discrimination and was better calibrated to the UK population than either the Framingham model or ASSIGN. QRISK is likely to provide more appropriate risk estimates to help identify high risk patients on the basis of age, sex, and social deprivation. It is therefore likely to be a more equitable tool to inform management decisions and help ensure treatments are directed towards those most likely to benefit. It includes additional variables which improve risk estimates for patients with a positive family history or those on antihypertensive treatment. However, since the validation was performed in a similar population to the population from which the algorithm was derived, it potentially has a “home advantage.” Further validation in other populations is therefore required.


  • We thank EMIS and the EMIS practices contributing to QRESEARCH; Patrick Royston for advice on multiple imputation, fractional polynomials, and the D statistic; Rod Jackson, Stuart Pocock, Philip Bath, Hugh Tunstall-Pedoe, and Mark Woodward for reviewing the protocol; and the following who enabled the project, contributed to discussions, or facilitated the linkage of cause of deaths data with general practice data—Nirupa Dattani and Sir Peter Goldblatt (Office for National Statistics), Steve Daniels (Connecting for Health), John Fox and Dave Roberts (Information Centre), Andy Whitwam and David Stables (EMIS), Bill Kirkup, Maggie Rae, Michael Soljak, and Roger Boyle (Department of Health).

  • Contributors: JHC initiated and designed the study, obtained approvals, prepared the data, undertook the analysis and interpretation, and wrote the first draft of the paper. CC, YV, and MM contributed to the development of the protocol, design, analysis and interpretation, and drafting of the paper. CC and YV undertook some of the primary analyses with JHC. JR and PB contributed to the conception, design, analysis, interpretation, and drafting of the article and approved the final version.

  • Funding: The study received no external funding.

  • Competing interests: JR chairs, and PB is a member of, the NICE guideline development group on cardiovascular risk assessment “The modification of blood lipids for the primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease.” JHC is codirector of QRESEARCH, a not for profit organisation that is a joint partnership between the University of Nottingham and EMIS (leading supplier of information technology for 60% of UK general practices). QRESEARCH undertakes analyses for the Department of Health and other government organisations. All research using the database is peer reviewed and published. QRESEARCH is not used for studies for the pharmaceutical industry.

  • Ethical approval: This study was approved by the Trent multicentre research ethics committee.

  • Accepted 27 June 2007
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