Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:

Education And Debate

Risk factor thresholds: their existence under scrutiny

BMJ 2002; 324 doi: (Published 29 June 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;324:1570

Rapid Response:

Risk of lowering risk factors

The logarithm of incidence of ischemic heart disease may be
proportional to several risk factors such as diastolic blood pressure,
serum cholesterol, and body mass index. The authors draw the conclusion
that more interventions are justified than are currently performed aiming
to reduce even moderately or hardly elevated risk factors.

How would a non
-zero risk of the intervention itself affect that conclusion? Wouldn’t
there be a level of risk factor at which the risk of the intervention
outweighs the benefit of further lowering the risk factor?

Thus the risk
of intervention would set a threshold for lowering risk factors to be
useful for the patient.

Competing interests: No competing interests

03 July 2002
Gregor Caspari
Institut für Transfusionsmedizin, Hochstr. 29, D-14770 Brandenburg an der Havel