Cardiovascular disease is a major cause of mortality and morbidity and its prevalence is set to increase. While the benefits of medical and lifestyle interventions are established, the effectiveness of interventions which seek to improve the way preventive care is delivered in general practice is less so. The aim was to study and to compare the effectiveness of 2 intervention programmes for reducing cardiovascular risk factors within general practice.
A randomised controlled trial was conducted in Belgium between 2007-2010 with 314 highly educated and mainly healthy professionals allocated to a medical (MP) or a medical + lifestyle (MLP) programme. The MP consisted of medical assessments (screening and follow-up) and the MLP added a tailored lifestyle change programme (web-based and individual coaching) to the MP. Primary outcomes were total cholesterol, blood pressure, and body mass index (BMI). The secondary outcomes were smoking status, fitness-score, and total cardiovascular risk.
The mean age was 41 years, 95 (32%) participants were female, 7 had a personal cardiovascular event in their medical history and 3 had diabetes. There were no significant differences found between MP and MLP in primary or secondary outcomes. In both study conditions decreases of cholesterol, systolic blood pressure, and diastolic blood pressure were found. Unfavourable increases were found for BMI (p < .05). A significant decrease of the overall cardiovascular risk was reported (p < .001).
Both interventions are effective in reducing cardiovascular risk. In our population the combined medical and lifestyle programme was not superior to the medical programme.
Cardiovascular diseases; Prevention; General practice; Lifestyle programmes
There are significant gaps in the implementation and uptake of evidence-based guideline recommendations for cardiovascular disease (CVD) and diabetes in Australian general practice. This study protocol describes the methodology for a cluster randomised trial to evaluate the effectiveness of a model that aims to improve the implementation of these guidelines in Australian general practice developed by a collaboration between researchers, non-government organisations, and the profession.
We hypothesise that the intervention will alter the behaviour of clinicians and patients resulting in improvements of recording of lifestyle and physiological risk factors (by 20%) and increased adherence to guideline recommendations for: the management of CVD and diabetes risk factors (by 20%); and lifestyle and physiological risk factors of patients at risk (by 5%). Thirty-two general practices will be randomised in a 1:1 allocation to receive either the intervention or continue with usual care, after stratification by state. The intervention will be delivered through: small group education; audit of patient records to determine preventive care; and practice facilitation visits adapted to the needs of the practices. Outcome data will be extracted from electronic medical records and patient questionnaires, and qualitative evaluation from provider and patient interviews.
We plan to disseminate study findings widely and directly inform implementation strategies by governments, professional bodies, and non-government organisations including the partner organisations.
Primary care; Family medicine; Guidelines; Preventive care; Cardiovascular disease
Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are the leading cause of death and the third cause of disability in Europe. Prevention programmes should include interventions aimed at a reduction of medical risk factors (hypertension, hypercholesterol, hyperglycemia, overweight and obesity) as well as behavioural risk factors (sedentary lifestyle, high fat intake and low fruit and vegetable intake, smoking). The aim of this study is to investigate the effects of a multifaceted, multidisciplinary electronic prevention programme on cardiovascular risk factors.
In a randomized controlled trial, one group will receive a maximal intervention (= intervention group). The intervention group will be compared to the control group receiving a minimal intervention. An inclusion of 350 patients in total, with a follow-up of 3 years is foreseen. The inclusion criteria are age between 25–65 and insured by the Onderlinge Ziekenkas, insuring for guaranteed income in case of illness for self-employed. The maximal intervention group receives several prevention consultations by their general practitioner (GP) using a new type of cardiovascular risk calculator with personalised feedback on behavioural risk factors. These patients receive a follow-up with intensive support of health behaviour change via different methods, i.e. a tailored website and personal advice of a multidisciplinary team (psychologist, physiotherapist and dietician). The aim of this strategy is to reduce cardiovascular risk factors according to the guidelines. The primary outcome measures will be cardiovascular risk factors. The secondary outcome measures are cardiovascular events, quality of life, costs and incremental cost effectiveness ratios. The control group receives prevention consultations using a new type of cardiovascular risk calculator and general feedback.
This trial incorporates interventions by GPs and other health professionals aiming at a reduction of medical and behavioural cardiovascular risk factors. An assessment of clinical, psychological and economical outcome measures will be performed.
To investigate the longer-term cost-effectiveness of a nurse-coordinated preventive cardiology programme for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD) compared to routine practice from a health service perspective.
A matched, paired cluster-randomised controlled trial.
Six pairs of general practices in six countries.
1019 patients were randomised to the EUROACTION intervention programme and 1005 patients to usual care (UC) and who completed the 1-year follow-up.
Evidence on health outcomes and costs was based on patient-level data from the study, which had a 1-year follow-up period. Future risk of CVD events was modelled, using published risk models based on patient characteristics. An individual-level Markov model for each patient was used to extrapolate beyond the end of the trial, which was populated with data from published sources. We used an 11-year time horizon and investigated the impact on the cost-effectiveness of varying the duration of the effect of the intervention beyond the end of the trial. Results are expressed as incremental cost per quality-adjusted life-year gained.
Unadjusted results found the intervention to be more costly and also more effective than UC. However, after adjusting for differences in age, gender, country and baseline risk factors, the intervention was dominated by UC, but this analysis was not able to take into account the lifestyle changes in terms of diet and physical activity.
Although the EUROACTION study achieved healthier lifestyle changes and improvements in management of blood pressure and lipids for patients at high risk of CVD, compared to UC, it was not possible to show, using available risk equations which do not incorporate diet and physical activity, that the intervention reduced longer-term cardiovascular risk cost-effectively. Whether or not an intervention such as that offered by EUROACTION is cost-effective requires a longer-term trial with major cardiovascular events as the outcome.
Trial Registration number
Health Economics; Cardiology; Primary Care
Of all workers in Dutch construction industry, 20% has an elevated risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). A major risk factor for CVD risk is an unhealthy lifestyle. The aim of our study is to design a lifestyle intervention for construction workers with an elevated CVD risk, and to evaluate its (cost-) effectiveness.
In a RCT, 692 participants will be randomised to either the control or the intervention group. The control group will receive usual care. For the intervention group, a lifestyle intervention has been designed based on interviews and current literature. The intervention will last 6 months and will comprise 3 face-to-face and 4 telephone contacts, consisting of individual counselling aimed at increasing daily physical activity (PA) and improving dietary behaviour, and/or smoking cessation. Counselling will take place at the Occupational Health Service (OHS), and will be done according to motivational interviewing (MI). Additional written information about healthy lifestyle will also be provided to those in the intervention group. At baseline, after 6 and after 12 months, measurements will take place. Primary outcome variables will be the lifestyle behaviours of concern, i.e. daily PA, dietary intake, and smoking status. Secondary outcome variables will be body mass index (BMI), systolic and diastolic blood pressure, total and HDL blood cholesterol, Hba1c and cardio-respiratory fitness (CRF). Sickness absenteeism and cost-effectiveness will be assessed as well. Multilevel analysis will be performed to compare all outcome measures between the intervention group and the control group.
By improving lifestyle, CVD risk may be lowered, yielding benefits for both employee and employer. If proven effective, this lifestyle intervention will be implemented on a larger scale within the Occupational Health Services in construction industry.
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN60545588
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death worldwide. Secondary prevention is essential, but participation rates for cardiac rehabilitation are low. Furthermore, current programmes do not accomplish that patients with CVD change their lifestyle in a way that their individual risk factors for recurrent events decrease, therefore more effective interventions are needed. In this study, the effectiveness of the Hartcoach-programme, a telephonic secondary prevention program focussing on self management, is studied.
A multicenter, randomised parallel-group study is being conducted. Participants are 400 patients with acute myocardial infarction (STEMI, NSTEMI,) and patients with chronic or unstable angina pectoris (IAP). Patients are recruited through the participating hospitals and randomly assigned to the experimental group (Hartcoach-programme plus usual care) or the control group (usual care).
The Hartcoach-programme consists of a period of six months during which the coach contacts the patient every four to six weeks by telephone. Coaches train patients to take responsibility for the achievement and maintenance of the defined target levels for their particular individual modifiable risk factors. Target levels and treatment goals are agreed by the nurse and patient together. Data collection is blinded and occurs at baseline and after 26 weeks (post-intervention). Primary outcome is change in cardiovascular risk factors (cholesterol, body mass index, waist circumference, blood pressure, physical activity and diet). Secondary outcomes include chances in glucose, HbA1c, medication adherence, self-management and quality of life.
This study evaluates the effects of the Hartcoach-programme on the reduction of individual risk factors of patients with CVDs. Patients who are not invited to follow a hospital based rehabilitation programme or patients who are unable to adhere to such a programme, may be reached by this home based Hartcoach-programme. If positive results are found, the implementation of the Hartcoach-programme will be extended, having implications for the management of many people with CVD.
Cardiovascular disease; Secondary prevention; Self management; Nurse led telephonic intervention
Because of a high cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk in people with Familial Hypercholesterolemia (FH), early prevention of cardiovascular disease is important for health gain and cost reduction. This project focuses on the development and evaluation of an innovative intervention aiming to reduce CVD risk by promoting a healthy lifestyle among people with FH.
This project is designed as a randomised controlled trial in which individuals with FH will be assigned randomly to a control or intervention group. In the intervention group (n = 200), participants will receive a personalized intervention which is a combination of web-based tailored lifestyle advice and personal counselling by a lifestyle coach. The control group (n = 200) will receive care as usual. Primary outcomes are biological indicators of CVD risk: systolic blood pressure, glucose, BMI, waist circumference and lipids (triglycerides, total, LDL and HDL cholesterol). Secondary outcomes are: healthy lifestyle behaviour (with regard to smoking, physical activity, dietary pattern and compliance to statin therapy) and psychological correlates and determinants of healthy lifestyle behaviour (knowledge, attitude, risk perception, social influence, self-efficacy, cues to action, intention and autonomy). Measurement will take place at baseline, and at 3 and 12 months after randomisation. Additionally, a throughout process-evaluation will be conducted to assess and monitor intervention implementation during the trial.
Results of the PRO-FIT project will provide information about the effects and implementation of a healthy lifestyle intervention for individuals with FH. Our experiences with this intervention will be indicative about the suitability, feasibility and benefits of this approach for future interventions in other high-risk groups, such as Familial Combined Hypercholesterolemia (FCH) and diabetes.
Trial registration number
Current guidelines for prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease (CVD) emphasise the importance of a healthy lifestyle. However, successful lifestyle intervention is proving to be a challenge for healthcare professionals.
Evaluation of the effect of lifestyle intervention on cardiovascular risk factors, on reaching treatment targets and on the estimated risk of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality.
The effect of a six-month multidisciplinary structured lifestyle intervention programme was assessed in 186 patients with and without a history of CVD.
Multidisciplinary structured lifestyle intervention reduced the estimated ten-year risk of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. The relative risk reduction was similar in patients with and without a history of CVD, the absolute risk reduction was higher in patients with a history of CVD. In both groups blood pressure and body weight decreased, and the maximal work rate and maximal oxygen uptake increased significantly. Blood levels of total cholesterol and cholesterol/HDL ratio decreased significantly in patients with a history of CVD. In addition, target levels for blood pressure and physical fitness were more frequently reached in both patient groups.
Multidisciplinary structured lifestyle intervention had beneficial effects on cardiovascular risk factors. Relative risk reduction was similar in patients with and without evidence of cardiovascular disease. Follow-up is needed to see how well these effects can be maintained.
cardiovascular disease; cardiovascular risk; lifestyle intervention; prevention; risk factor; treatment target
The prescription of statins is an evidence-based treatment to reduce the risk of cardiovascular events in patients with elevated cardiovascular risk or with a cardiovascular disorder (CVD). In spite of this, many of these patients do not receive statins.
We evaluated the impact of a brief educational intervention in cardiovascular prevention in primary care physicians’ prescribing behaviour regarding statins beyond their participation in a randomised controlled trial (RCT). For this, prescribing data of all patients > 35 years who were counselled before and after the study period were analysed (each n > 75000). Outcome measure was prescription of Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors (statins) corresponding to patients’ overall risk for CVD. Appropriateness of prescribing was examined according to different risk groups based on the Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical Classification System (ATC codes).
There was no consistent association between group allocation and statin prescription controlling for risk status in each risk group before and after study participation. However, we found a change to more significant drug configurations predicting the prescription of statins in the intervention group, which can be regarded as a small intervention effect.
Our results suggest that an active implementation of a brief evidence-based educational intervention does not lead to prescription modifications in everyday practice. Physician’s prescribing behaviour is affected by an established health care system, which is not easy to change.
Evaluation studies; Intention to treat analysis; Cardiovascular diseases; Drug prescriptions; Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors
Previous interventions to increase physical activity and reduce cardiovascular risk factors have been targeted at individuals with established disease; less attention has been given to intervention among individuals with high risk for disease nor has there been determination of the influence of setting in which the intervention is provided. In particular, family practice represents an ideal setting for the provision and long-term maintenance of lifestyle interventions for patients at risk (ie high-normal blood pressure or impaired glucose tolerance).
The Staged Nutrition and Activity Counseling (SNAC) study is a randomized clustered design clinical trial that will investigate the effectiveness and efficacy of a multi-component lifestyle intervention on cardiovascular disease risk factors and vascular function in patients at risk in primary care. Patients will be randomized by practice to either a standard of care lifestyle intervention or a behaviourally-based, matched prescriptive physical activity and diet change program. The primary goal is to increase physical activity and improve dietary intake according to Canada's Guides to Physical Activity Healthy Eating over 24 months. The primary intention to treat analysis will compare behavioral, physiological and metabolic outcomes at 6, 12 and 24 months post-randomization including estimation of incident hypertension and/or diabetes.
The design features of our trial, and the practical problems (and solutions) associated with implementing these design features, particularly those that result in potential delay between recruitment, baseline data collection, randomization, intervention, and assessment will be discussed. Results of the SNAC trial will provide scientific rationale for the implementation of this lifestyle intervention in primary care.
High blood pressure (HBP) is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD). European hypertension and cardiology societies as well as expert committees on CVD prevention recommend stratifying cardiovascular risk using the SCORE method, the modification of lifestyles to prevent CVD, and achieving good control over risk factors. The EDUCORE (Education and Coronary Risk Evaluation) project aims to determine whether the use of a cardiovascular risk visual learning method - the EDUCORE method - is more effective than normal clinical practice in improving the control of blood pressure within one year in patients with poorly controlled hypertension but no background of CVD;
This work describes a protocol for a clinical trial, randomised by clusters and involving 22 primary healthcare clinics, to test the effectiveness of the EDUCORE method. The number of patients required was 736, all between 40 and 65 years of age (n = 368 in the EDUCORE and control groups), all of whom had been diagnosed with HBP at least one year ago, and all of whom had poorly controlled hypertension (systolic blood pressure ≥ 140 mmHg and/or diastolic ≥ 90 mmHg). All personnel taking part were explained the trial and trained in its methodology. The EDUCORE method contemplates the visualisation of low risk SCORE scores using images embodying different stages of a high risk action, plus the receipt of a pamphlet explaining how to better maintain cardiac health. The main outcome variable was the control of blood pressure; secondary outcome variables included the SCORE score, therapeutic compliance, quality of life, and total cholesterol level. All outcome variables were measured at the beginning of the experimental period and again at 6 and 12 months. Information on sex, age, educational level, physical activity, body mass index, consumption of medications, change of treatment and blood analysis results was also recorded;
The EDUCORE method could provide a simple, inexpensive means of improving blood pressure control, and perhaps other health problems, in the primary healthcare setting;
The trial was registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT01155973 [http://ClinicalTrials.gov].
Previous research suggests that lifestyle intervention for the prevention of diabetes and cardiovascular disease (CVD) are effective, however little is known about factors affecting participation in such programs. This study aims to explore factors influencing levels of participation in a lifestyle modification program conducted as part of a cluster randomized controlled trial of CVD prevention in primary care.
This concurrent mixed methods study used data from the intervention arm of a cluster RCT which recruited 30 practices through two rural and three urban primary care organizations. Practices were randomly allocated to intervention (n = 16) and control (n = 14) groups. In each practice up to 160 eligible patients aged between 40 and 64 years old, were invited to participate. Intervention practice staff were trained in lifestyle assessment and counseling and referred high risk patients to a lifestyle modification program (LMP) consisting of two individual and six group sessions over a nine month period. Data included a patient survey, clinical audit, practice survey on capacity for preventive care, referral and attendance records at the LMP and qualitative interviews with Intervention Officers facilitating the LMP. Multi-level logistic regression modelling was used to examine independent predictors of attendance at the LMP, supplemented with qualitative data from interviews with Intervention Officers facilitating the program.
A total of 197 individuals were referred to the LMP (63% of those eligible). Over a third of patients (36.5%) referred to the LMP did not attend any sessions, with 59.4% attending at least half of the planned sessions. The only independent predictors of attendance at the program were employment status - not working (OR: 2.39 95% CI 1.15-4.94) and having high psychological distress (OR: 2.17 95% CI: 1.10-4.30). Qualitative data revealed that physical access to the program was a barrier, while GP/practice endorsement of the program and flexibility in program delivery facilitated attendance.
Barriers to attendance at a LMP for CVD prevention related mainly to external factors including work commitments and poor physical access to the programs rather than an individuals’ health risk profile or readiness to change. Improving physical access and offering flexibility in program delivery may enhance future attendance. Finally, associations between psychological distress and attendance rates warrant further investigation.
Preventive health care; Lifestyle modification; Attendance rates; Reach; Primary care; Family practice; Chronic disease prevention
The prevalence of overweight and elevated cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk among workers in the construction industry is relatively high. Improving lifestyle lowers CVD risk and may have work-related benefits. The purpose of the study was to evaluate the effects on physical activity (PA), diet, and smoking of a lifestyle intervention consisting of individual counseling among male workers in the construction industry with an elevated risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD).
In a randomized controlled trial including 816 male blue- and white-collar workers in the construction industry with an elevated risk of CVD, usual care was compared to a 6-month lifestyle intervention. The intervention consisted of individual counseling using motivational interviewing techniques, and was delivered by an occupational physician or occupational nurse. In three face to face and four telephone contacts, the participant's risk profile, personal determinants, and barriers for behavior change were discussed, and personal goals were set. Participants chose to aim at either diet and PA, or smoking. Data were collected at baseline and after six and 12 months, by means of a questionnaire. To analyse the data, linear and logistic regression analyses were performed.
The intervention had a statistically significant beneficial effect on snack intake (β-1.9, 95%CI -3.7; -0.02) and fruit intake (β 1.7, 95%CI 0.6; 2.9) at 6 months. The effect on snack intake was sustained until 12 months; 6 months after the intervention had ended (β -1.9, 95%CI -3.6; -0.2). The intervention effects on leisure time PA and metabolic equivalent-minutes were not statistically significant. The beneficial effect on smoking was statistically significant at 6 (OR smoking 0.3, 95%CI 0.1;0.7), but not at 12 months (OR 0.8, 95%CI 0.4; 1.6).
Beneficial effects on smoking, fruit, and snack intake can be achieved by an individual-based lifestyle intervention among male construction workers with an elevated risk of CVD. Future research should be done on strategies to improve leisure time PA and on determinants of maintenance of changed behavior. Considering the rising prevalence of unhealthy lifestyle and CVD, especially in the aging population, implementation of this intervention in the occupational health care setting is recommended.
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN60545588
To quantify the impact of a practical, hospital-based nurse-coordinated prevention programme on cardiovascular risk, integrated into the routine clinical care of patients discharged after an acute coronary syndrome, as compared with usual care only.
RESPONSE (Randomised Evaluation of Secondary Prevention by Outpatient Nurse SpEcialists) was a randomised clinical trial.
Multicentre trial in secondary and tertiary healthcare settings.
754 patients admitted for acute coronary syndrome.
A nurse-coordinated prevention programme, consisting of four outpatient nurse clinic visits, focusing on healthy lifestyles, biometric risk factors and medication adherence, in addition to usual care.
Main outcome measures
The main outcome was 10-year cardiovascular mortality risk as estimated by Systematic Coronary Risk Evaluation at 12 months follow-up. Secondary outcomes included Framingham Coronary Risk Score at 12 months, in addition to changes in individual risk factors. Risk factor control was classified as ‘poor’ if 0 to 3 factors were on target, ‘fair’ if 4 to 6 factors were on target, and ‘good’ if 7 to 9 were on target.
The mean Systematic Coronary Risk Evaluation at 12 months was 4.4 per cent (SD 4.5) in the intervention group and 5.4 per cent (SD 6.2) in the control group (p=0.021), representing a 17.4% relative risk reduction. At 12 months, risk factor control classified as ‘good’ was achieved in 35% of patients in the intervention group compared with 25% in the control group (p=0.003). Attendance to the nurse-coordinated prevention programme was 92%. In the intervention group, 86 rehospitalisations were observed against 132 in the control group (relative risk reduction 34.8%, p=0.023).
The nurse-coordinated hospital-based prevention programme in addition to usual care is a practical, yet effective method for reduction of cardiovascular risk in patients with coronary disease. Our data suggest that the counselling component of the programme may lead to a reduction in hospital readmissions.
Trial Registration trialregister.nl Identifier
Coronary Artery Disease
BACKGROUND: Sub-optimal management of cardiovascular disease (CVD) patients is widespread in primary and secondary care, with risk factors frequently unrecorded or untreated. AIM: To investigate the effectiveness of educational interventions developed in primary care, on recording, prescribing and control of risk factors among all patients recorded by their general practitioner as having CVD. DESIGN OF STUDY: Factorial, duster-randomised controlled trial. SETTING: Primary care teams representing the range of practice development in a geographically defined area in inner London. METHOD: Participating practices were randomly allocated to one of the four intervention groups: information, evidence, both or neither. Interventions were tailored to suit individual practice needs. At a mean of 19 months after baseline, and three months after the end of intervention, practices carried out the follow-up assessment of recording, treatment, and control of risk factors in the same CVD patients. RESULTS: Adequate recording of all three risk factors, found inapproximately a third of patients at baseline, increased non-significantly by 10.5% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 3.9 to 24.9) in the information (versus not information) group and by 6.6% (95% [CI] = 8.9 to 22.0) in the evidence (versus not evidence) group. Factorial improvements in prescribing and control of risk factors tended not to be significant. Adequate recording of an three risk factors showed the greatest improvement in the information plus evidence group (19.9% increase, P for heterogeneity across the four groups < or = 0.001). Mean change from baseline to follow-up within the four intervention groups suggested improvements in the combined information plus evidence group in cholesterol recording (22.5% increase), prescribing of lipid lowering drugs (4.4% increase) and mean cholesterol (0.7 mmol/l decrease). CONCLUSIONS: Adequate risk factor recording did not differ between the information (versus not information) or the evidence (versus not evidence) intervention groups. Combined training in information systems and evidence-based medicine should be considered in the design of future interventions, to improve secondary prevention of CVD.
Although supporting lifestyle change is an effective way of preventing further events in people with cardiovascular disease, providing access to such interventions is a major challenge. This study aims to investigate whether simple reminders about behaviour change sent via mobile phone text message decrease cardiovascular risk.
Methods and analysis
Randomised controlled trial with 6 months of follow-up to evaluate the feasibility, acceptability and effect on cardiovascular risk of repeated lifestyle reminders sent via mobile phone text messages compared to usual care. A total of 720 patients with coronary artery disease will be randomised to either standard care or the TEXT ME intervention. The intervention group will receive multiple weekly text messages that provide information, motivation, support to quit smoking (if relevant) and recommendations for healthy diets and exercise. The primary end point is a change in plasma low-density lipoprotein cholesterol at 6 months. Secondary end points include a change in systolic blood pressure, smoking status, quality of life, medication adherence, waist circumference, physical activity levels, nutritional status and mood at 6 months. Process outcomes related to acceptability and feasibility of TEXT ME will also be collected.
Ethics and dissemination
Primary ethics approval was received from Western Sydney Local Health Network Human Research Ethics Committee—Westmead. Results will be disseminated via the usual scientific forums including peer-reviewed publications and presentations at international conferences.
Clinical trials registration number
The article provides the rationale and protocol for a randomised controlled trial to test the efficacy of mobile phone text message reminders to promote behaviour change and reduce cardiac risk in patients with coronary heart disease.
Mobile phone text messages may potentially be a cheap, safe and simple way to promote healthy behaviour, improve mood and increase compliance with cardiac medication. This in turn would reduce cardiovascular risk. The effectiveness of this approach needs to be tested in well-designed and rigorously conducted clinical trials.
Strengths and limitations of this study
The main strengths of the current study are that it uses a simple and inexpensive text message-based programme that is suitable for widespread use and will test this strategy in a randomised, controlled and blinded study. The study is, however, being conducted in only Australian tertiary centres and, therefore, the generalisability is somewhat limited, although the cohort size is relatively large.
BACKGROUND: The multiprofessional teams in Finnish health centres are well placed to carry out interventions aimed at the prevention of cardiovascular diseases. AIM: To evaluate the effectiveness of an individually tailored multifactorial lifestyle intervention in primary care for individuals at high risk for cardiovascular disease. DESIGN OF STUDY: A randomised controlled trial was conducted over 24 months with interim assessments at six and 12 months. SETTING: A health centre in Finland with a patient population of 11,000. METHOD: One hundred and fifty adults aged 18 to 65 years old with existing cardiovascular disease or multiple risk factors were randomised to active multiprofessional risk factor intervention or to standard care. The main outcome measure was a change in cardiovascular risk-factor score. Secondary outcomes were changes in blood pressure, weight, body-mass index, serum cholesterol, blood glucose, smoking cessation, and exercise habits. RESULTS: The cardiovascular risk score decreased by 28% in the intervention group (23% in the control group), body weight decreased by 3.7% (2%) and total cholesterol decreased by 10.8% (6.5%), while time engaged in exercise increased by 39% (43%). Differences were not significant. CONCLUSIONS: Cardiovascular risk levels of high-risk individuals decreased in both intervention and control groups. Primary care prevention should be targeted to high-risk persons. Long-term follow-up studies are needed.
Cardiovascular disease accounts for a large burden of disease, but is amenable to prevention through lifestyle modification. This paper examines patient and practice predictors of referral to a lifestyle modification program (LMP) offered as part of a cluster randomised controlled trial (RCT) of prevention of vascular disease in primary care.
Data from the intervention arm of a cluster RCT which recruited 36 practices through two rural and three urban primary care organisations were used. In each practice, 160 eligible high risk patients were invited to participate. Practices were randomly allocated to intervention or control groups. Intervention practice staff were trained in screening, motivational interviewing and counselling and encouraged to refer high risk patients to a LMP involving individual and group sessions. Data include patient surveys; clinical audit; practice survey on capacity for preventive care; referral records from the LMP. Predictors of referral were examined using multi-level logistic regression modelling after adjustment for confounding factors.
Of 301 eligible patients, 190 (63.1%) were referred to the LMP. Independent predictors of referral were baseline BMI ≥ 25 (OR 2.87 95%CI:1.10, 7.47), physical inactivity (OR 2.90 95%CI:1.36,6.14), contemplation/preparation/action stage of change for physical activity (OR 2.75 95%CI:1.07, 7.03), rural location (OR 12.50 95%CI:1.43, 109.7) and smaller practice size (1–3 GPs) (OR 16.05 95%CI:2.74, 94.24).
Providing a well-structured evidence-based lifestyle intervention, free of charge to patients, with coordination and support for referral processes resulted in over 60% of participating high risk patients being referred for disease prevention. Contrary to expectations, referrals were more frequent from rural and smaller practices suggesting that these practices may be more ready to engage with these programs.
Preventive health care; General practice; Health behaviour; Lifestyle modification; Referral
Large gaps exist in the implementation of guideline recommendations for cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk management. Electronic decision support (EDS) systems are promising interventions to close these gaps but few have undergone clinical trial evaluation in Australia. We have developed HealthTracker, a multifaceted EDS and quality improvement intervention to improve the management of CVD risk.
It is hypothesised that the use of HealthTracker over a 12-month period will result in: (1) an increased proportion of patients receiving guideline-indicated measurements of CVD risk factors and (2) an increased proportion of patients at high risk will receive guideline-indicated prescriptions for lowering their CVD risk. Sixty health services (40 general practices and 20 Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHSs) will be randomised in a 1:1 allocation to receive either the intervention package or continue with usual care, stratified by service type, size and participation in existing quality improvement initiatives. The intervention consists of point-of-care decision support; a risk communication interface; a clinical audit tool to assess performance on CVD-related indicators; a quality improvement component comprising peer-ranked data feedback and support to develop strategies to improve performance. The control arm will continue with usual care without access to these intervention components. Quantitative data will be derived from cross-sectional samples at baseline and end of study via automated data extraction. Detailed process and economic evaluations will also be conducted.
Ethics and dissemination
The general practice component of the study is approved by the University of Sydney Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC) and the ACCHS component is approved by the Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council HREC. Formal agreements with each of the participating sites have been signed. In addition to the usual scientific forums, results will be disseminated via newsletters, study websites, face-to-face feedback forums and workshops.
The trial is registered with the Australian Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN 12611000478910.
Primary Care; Cardiology
Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second highest cause of cancer death in the UK. Most cases occur in people over 50 years and CRC often co-exists with other lifestyle related disorders including obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and cardiovascular disease (CVD). These diseases share risk factors related to the metabolic syndrome including large body size, abnormal lipids and markers of insulin resistance indicating common aetiological pathways.
This 3 year study will be a two-arm, multicentre, randomised controlled trial comparing the BeWEL lifestyle (diet, physical activity and behaviour change) programme against usual care. The pre-trial development will take 6 months and participants will be recruited over a 12 month period and undertake the intervention and follow up for 12 months (total 24 months recruitment and intervention implementation) with a further 6 months for data collection, analysis and interpretation.
Four hundred and fifty two participants who have had a colorectal adenoma detected and removed (through the national colorectal screening programme) will provide 80% power to detect a weight loss of 7% over 12 months.
Primary outcomes are changes in body weight and waist circumference. Secondary outcomes will include cardiovascular risk factors, psycho-social measures and intervention costs.
The results from this study will enhance the evidence base for lifestyle change in patients at higher risk of chronic disease including obesity related cancers.
International Standard Randomised Controlled Trials No: ISRCTN53033856
Patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) have an increased risk to develop severe diabetes related complications, especially cardiovascular disease (CVD). The risk to develop CVD can be estimated by means of risk formulas. However, patients have difficulties to understand the outcomes of these formulas. As a result, they may not recognize the importance of changing lifestyle and taking medication in time. Therefore, it is important to develop risk communication methods, that will improve the patients' understanding of risks associated with having diabetes, which enables them to make informed choices about their diabetes care.
The aim of this study is to investigate the effects of an intervention focussed on the communication of the absolute 10-year risk to develop CVD on risk perception, attitude and intention to change lifestyle behaviour in patients with T2DM. The conceptual framework of the intervention is based on the Theory of Planned Behaviour and the Self-regulation Theory.
A randomised controlled trial will be performed in the Diabetes Care System West-Friesland (DCS), a managed care system. Newly referred T2DM patients of the DCS, younger than 75 years will be eligible for the study. The intervention group will be exposed to risk communication on CVD, on top of standard managed care of the DCS. This intervention consists of a simple explanation on the causes and consequences of CVD, and possibilities for prevention. The probabilities of CVD in 10 year will be explained in natural frequencies and visualised by a population diagram. The control group will receive standard managed care. The primary outcome is appropriateness of risk perception. Secondary outcomes are attitude and intention to change lifestyle behaviour and illness perception. Differences between baseline and follow-up (2 and 12 weeks) between groups will be analysed according to the intention-to-treat principle. The study was powered on 120 patients in each group.
This innovative risk communication method based on two behavioural theories might improve patient's appropriateness of risk perception and attitude concerning lifestyle change. With a better understanding of their CVD risk, patients will be able to make informed choices concerning diabetes care.
The trial is registered as NTR1556 in the Dutch Trial Register.
Cardiovascular disease (including coronary heart disease and stroke) is a major cause of death and disability in the United Kingdom, and is to a large extent preventable, by lifestyle modification and drug therapy. The recent standardisation of electronic codes for cardiovascular risk variables through the United Kingdom's new General Practice contract provides an opportunity for the application of risk algorithms to identify high risk individuals. This randomised controlled trial will test the benefits of an automated system of alert messages and practice searches to identify those at highest risk of cardiovascular disease in primary care databases.
Patients over 50 years old in practice databases will be randomised to the intervention group that will receive the alert messages and searches, and a control group who will continue to receive usual care. In addition to those at high estimated risk, potentially high risk patients will be identified who have insufficient data to allow a risk estimate to be made. Further groups identified will be those with possible undiagnosed diabetes, based either on elevated past recorded blood glucose measurements, or an absence of recent blood glucose measurement in those with established cardiovascular disease.
The intervention will be applied for two years, and outcome data will be collected for a further year. The primary outcome measure will be the annual rate of cardiovascular events in the intervention and control arms of the study. Secondary measures include the proportion of patients at high estimated cardiovascular risk, the proportion of patients with missing data for a risk estimate, and the proportion with undefined diabetes status at the end of the trial.
To determine the effectiveness of collaborative care in reducing depression in primary care patients with diabetes or heart disease using practice nurses as case managers.
A two-arm open randomised cluster trial with wait-list control for 6 months. The intervention was followed over 12 months.
Eleven Australian general practices, five randomly allocated to the intervention and six to the control.
400 primary care patients (206 intervention, 194 control) with depression and type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease or both.
The practice nurse acted as a case manager identifying depression, reviewing pathology results, lifestyle risk factors and patient goals and priorities. Usual care continued in the controls.
Main outcome measure
A five-point reduction in depression scores for patients with moderate-to-severe depression. Secondary outcome was improvements in physiological measures.
Mean depression scores after 6 months of intervention for patients with moderate-to-severe depression decreased by 5.7±1.3 compared with 4.3±1.2 in control, a significant (p=0.012) difference. (The plus–minus is the 95% confidence range.) Intervention practices demonstrated adherence to treatment guidelines and intensification of treatment for depression, where exercise increased by 19%, referrals to exercise programmes by 16%, referrals to mental health workers (MHWs) by 7% and visits to MHWs by 17%. Control-practice exercise did not change, whereas referrals to exercise programmes dropped by 5% and visits to MHWs by 3%. Only referrals to MHW increased by 12%. Intervention improvements were sustained over 12 months, with a significant (p=0.015) decrease in 10-year cardiovascular disease risk from 27.4±3.4% to 24.8±3.8%. A review of patients indicated that the study's safety protocols were followed.
TrueBlue participants showed significantly improved depression and treatment intensification, sustained over 12 months of intervention and reduced 10-year cardiovascular disease risk. Collaborative care using practice nurses appears to be an effective primary care intervention.
ACTRN12609000333213 (Australia and New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry).
Mental Health; Public Health
Overweight (Body Mass Index [BMI] ≥ 25 kg/m2) and obesity (BMI≥ 30 kg/m2) are associated with increased cardiovascular risk, posing a considerable burden to public health. The main aim of this study was to investigate lifestyle intervention effects on cardiovascular risk factors in healthy overweight employees.
Participants were 276 healthy overweight employees (69.2% male; mean age 44.0 years [SD 9.2]; mean BMI 29.7 kg/m2 [SD 3.1]). They were randomized to one of two intervention groups receiving a six month lifestyle intervention with behavior counseling by phone (phone group) or e-mail (Internet group), or to a control group receiving usual care. Body weight, height, waist circumference, sum of skinfolds, blood pressure, total cholesterol level and predicted aerobic fitness were measured at baseline, at 6 and at 24 months. Regression analyses included the 141 participants with complete data.
At 6 months a significant favorable effect on total cholesterol level (-0.2 mmol/l, 95%CI -0.5 to -0.0) was observed in the phone group and a trend for improved aerobic fitness (1.9 ml/kg/min, 95%CI -0.2 to 3.9) in the Internet group. At two years, favorable trends for body weight (-2.1 kg, 95%CI -4.4 to 0.2) and aerobic fitness (2.3 ml/kg/min, 95%CI -0.2 to 4.8) were observed in the Internet group.
The intervention effects were independent of the used communication mode. However short-term results were in favor of the phone group and long-term results in favor of the internet group. Thus, we found limited evidence for our lifestyle intervention to be effective in reducing cardiovascular risk in a group of apparently healthy overweight workers.
The global burden of the major vascular diseases is projected to rise and to remain the dominant non-communicable disease cluster well into the twenty first century. The Department of Health in England has developed the NHS Health Check service as a policy initiative to reduce population vascular disease risk. The aims of this study were to monitor population changes in cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors over the first year of the new service and to assess the value of tailored lifestyle support, including motivational interview with ongoing support and referral to other services.
Randomised trial comparing NHS Health Check service only with NHS Health Check service plus additional lifestyle support in Stoke on Trent, England. Thirty eight general practices and 601 (365 usual care, 236 additional lifestyle support) patients were recruited and randomised independently between September 2009 and February 2010. Changes in population CVD risk between baseline and one year follow-up were compared, using intention-to-treat analysis. The primary outcome was the Framingham 10 year CVD risk score. Secondary outcomes included individual modifiable risk measures and prevalence of individual risk categories. Additional lifestyle support included referral to a lifestyle coach and free sessions as needed for: weight management, physical activity, cook and eat and positive thinking.
Average population CVD risk decreased from 32.9% to 29.4% (p <0.001) in the NHS Health Check only group and from 31.9% to 29.2% (p <0.001) in the NHS Health Check plus additional lifestyle support group. There was no significant difference between the two groups at either measurement point. Prevalence of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking were reduced significantly (p <0.01) in both groups. Prevalence of central obesity was reduced significantly (p <0.01) in the group receiving additional lifestyle support but not in the NHS Health Check only group.
The NHS Health Check service in Stoke on Trent resulted in significant reduction in estimated population CVD risk. There was no evidence of further benefit of the additional lifestyle support services in terms of absolute CVD risk reduction.
Vascular disease; Lifestyle change; Prevention; Multi-factorial risk; Policy implementation