A pictorial representation of carotid ultrasound coupled with a follow-up phone call from a nurse led to reduced cardiovascular disease risk at 1-year follow-up, according to a randomized, controlled study of northern Sweden residents at risk of cardiovascular disease.
“Our study supports further attempts to solve the major problem of prevention failure because of low adherence, despite effective, cost-effective, and evidence-based medications and methods for a healthier lifestyle,” wrote lead author, of Umeå (Sweden) University, and his coauthors. The study was published online in .
In this trial of 3,532 individuals who were aged 40-60 years with one or more conventional cardiovascular risk factors, the intervention group (1,749) received pictorial information of atherosclerosis as an add-on to normal care. Their primary care physician received the same information, and these participants also received a follow-up phone call from a nurse 2-4 weeks later. The other participants (1,783) received standard care but neither the presentation nor the phone call.
Both the Framingham risk score () and European Systematic Coronary Risk Evaluation ( ) were both used to assess outcomes; at 1-year follow-up, the intervention group had an FRS that decreased from baseline (–0.58; 95% confidence interval, –0.86 to –0.30), compared with an increase in the control group (0.35; 95% CI, 0.08-0.63). SCORE values increased twice as much in the control group (0.27; 95% CI, 0.23-0.30), compared with the intervention group (0.13; 95% CI, 0.09-0.18). The authors also observed no differential responses for education level, surmising that “this type of risk communication might contribute to reduction of the social gap in health.”
The authors shared their study’s limitations, including notable differences between dropouts and participants at 1-year follow-up with regard to metabolic risk factors and such fast-developing imaging technologies as CT and MRI out-dating ultrasound findings. They also acknowledged that more research needs to be undertaken to prove that these outcomes are genuine.
This study was funded by Västerbotten County Council, the Swedish Research Council, the Heart and Lung Foundation, and the Swedish Society of Medicine. No conflicts of interest were reported.
SOURCE: Näslund U et al. Lancet. 2018 Dec 3. .