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Secondary prevention of CVD 'should be highest priority'

Preventative programmes in primary care should prioritise the management of cardiovascular risk factors in patients with prior disease, says a study from New Zealand.

Researchers quantified the cardiovascular risk of nearly 36,000 patients over five years and linked this with national hospitalisation and death records.

They found around 42% of cardiovascular events occurred in patients who had a previous event and that they had a five year risk approximately 20% higher than those who had no history of cardiovascular disease, even after accounting for standard risk factors.

‘These patients should be the highest priority for intensive preventative management in primary care,' said the authors.

The findings conflict with the UK Government's drive to screen millions of asymtomatic individuals from this spring.

Heart 2009;95:125-129

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