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1.  Assessment of total cardiovascular risk using WHO/ISH risk prediction charts in three low and middle income countries in Asia 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:539.
Background
Recent research has used cardiovascular risk scores intended to estimate “total cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk” in individuals to assess the distribution of risk within populations. The research suggested that the adoption of the total risk approach, in comparison to treatment decisions being based on the level of a single risk factor, could lead to reductions in expenditure on preventive cardiovascular drug treatment in low- and middle-income countries. So that the patient benefit associated with savings is highlighted.
Methods
This study used data from national STEPS surveys (STEPwise Approach to Surveillance) conducted between 2005 and 2010 in Cambodia, Malaysia and Mongolia of men and women aged 40–64 years. The study compared the differences and implications of various approaches to risk estimation at a population level using the World Health Organization/International Society of Hypertension (WHO/ISH) risk score charts. To aid interpretation and adjustment of scores and inform treatment in individuals, the charts are accompanied by practice notes about risk factors not included in the risk score calculations. Total risk was calculated amongst the populations using the charts alone and also adjusted according to these notes. Prevalence of traditional single risk factors was also calculated.
Results
The prevalence of WHO/ISH “high CVD risk” (≥20% chance of developing a cardiovascular event over 10 years) of 6%, 2.3% and 1.3% in Mongolia, Malaysia and Cambodia, respectively, is in line with recent research when charts alone are used. However, these proportions rise to 33.3%, 20.8% and 10.4%, respectively when individuals with blood pressure > = 160/100 mm/Hg and/or hypertension medication are attributed to “high risk”. Of those at “moderate risk” (10- < 20% chance of developing a cardio vascular event over 10 years), 100%, 94.3% and 30.1%, respectively are affected by at least one risk-increasing factor. Of all individuals, 44.6%, 29.0% and 15.0% are affected by hypertension as a single risk factor (systolic ≥ 140 mmHg or diastolic ≥ 90 mmHg or medication).
Conclusions
Used on a population level, cardiovascular risk scores may offer useful insights that can assist health service delivery planning. An approach based on overall risk without adjustment of specific risk factors however, may underestimate treatment needs.
At the individual level, the total risk approach offers important clinical benefits. However, countries need to develop appropriate clinical guidelines and operational guidance for detection and management of CVD risk using total CVD-risk approach at different levels of health system. Operational research is needed to assess implementation issues.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-539
PMCID: PMC3679976  PMID: 23734670
2.  Time Trends in Blood Pressure, Body Mass Index and Smoking in the Vietnamese Population: A Meta-Analysis from Multiple Cross-Sectional Surveys 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(8):e42825.
Introduction
Data for trends in cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors are needed to set priorities and evaluate intervention programmes in the community. We estimated time trends in blood pressure (BP), anthropometric variables and smoking in the Vietnamese population and highlighted the differences between men and women or between rural and urban areas.
Methods
A dataset of 23,563 adults aged 25–74 from 5 cross-sectional surveys undertaken within Vietnam from 2001 to 2009 by the Vietnam National Heart Institute was used to estimate mean BP, weight, waist circumference (WC), body mass index (BMI), the prevalence of hypertension, adiposity or smoking, which were standardised to the national age structure of 2009. Multilevel mixed linear models were used to estimate annual changes in the variables of interest, adjusted by age, sex, residential area, with random variations for age and surveyed provinces.
Findings
Among the adult population, the age-standardised mean systolic and diastolic BP increased by 0.8 and 0.3 mmHg in women, 1.1 and 0.4 mmHg in men, while the mean BMI increased by 0.1 kgm−2 in women, 0.2 kgm−2 in men per year. Consequently, the prevalence of hypertension and adiposity increased by 0.9 and 0.3% in women, 1.1 and 0.9% in men with similar time trends in both rural and urban areas, while smoking prevalence only increased in women by 0.3% per year. A U-shaped association was found between age-adjusted BP and BMI in both sexes and in both areas.
Conclusions
From 2001 to 2009, mean BP, weight and WC significantly increased in the Vietnamese population, leading to an increased prevalence of hypertension and adiposity, suggesting the need for the development of multi-sectoral cost-effective population-based interventions to improve CVD management and prevention. The U-shaped relationship between BP and BMI highlighted the hypertension burden in the underweight population, which is usually neglected in CVD interventions.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0042825
PMCID: PMC3415402  PMID: 22912747
3.  Effectiveness of community-based comprehensive healthy lifestyle promotion on cardiovascular disease risk factors in a rural Vietnamese population: a quasi-experimental study 
Background
Health promotion is a key component for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD). This study evaluated the impact of healthy lifestyle promotion campaigns on CVD risk factors (CVDRF) in the general population in the context of a community-based programme on hypertension management.
Methods
A quasi-experimental intervention study was carried out in two rural communes of Vietnam from 2006 to 2009. In the intervention commune, a hypertensive-targeted management programme integrated with a community-targeted health promotion was initiated, while no new programme, apart from conventional healthcare services, was provided in the reference commune. Health promotion campaigns focused on smoking cessation, reducing alcohol consumption, encouraging physical activity and reducing salty diets. Repeated cross-sectional surveys in local adult population aged 25 years and over were undertaken to assess changes in blood pressure (BP) and behavioural CVDRFs (smoking, alcohol consumption, physical inactivity and salty diet) in both communes before and after the 3-year intervention.
Results
Overall 4,650 adults above 25 years old were surveyed, in four randomly independent samples covering both communes at baseline and after the 3-year intervention. Although physical inactivity and obesity increased over time in the intervention commune, there was a significant reduction in systolic and diastolic BP (3.3 and 4.7 mmHg in women versus 3.0 and 4.6 mmHg in men respectively) in the general population at the intervention commune. Health promotion reduced levels of salty diets but had insignificant impact on the prevalence of daily smoking or heavy alcohol consumption.
Conclusion
Community-targeted healthy lifestyle promotion can significantly improve some CVDRFs in the general population in a rural area over a relatively short time span. Limited effects on a context-bound CVDRF like smoking suggested that higher intensity of intervention, a supportive environment or a gender approach are required to maximize the effectiveness and maintain the sustainability of the health intervention.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-12-56
PMCID: PMC3487981  PMID: 22831548
Cardiovascular disease risk factors; Healthy lifestyle promotion; Community-based intervention; Hypertension management; Quasi-experimental study; Vietnam
4.  Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factor Patterns and Their Implications for Intervention Strategies in Vietnam 
Background. Data on cardiovascular disease risk factors (CVDRFs) in Vietnam are limited. This study explores the prevalence of each CVDRF and how they cluster to evaluate CVDRF burdens and potential prevention strategies. Methods. A cross-sectional survey in 2009 (2,130 adults) was done to collect data on behavioural CVDRF, anthropometry and blood pressure, lipidaemia profiles, and oral glucose tolerance tests. Four metabolic CVDRFs (hypertension, dyslipidaemia, diabetes, and obesity) and five behavioural CVDRFs (smoking, excessive alcohol intake, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, and stress) were analysed to identify their prevalence, cluster patterns, and social predictors. Framingham scores were applied to estimate the global 10-year CVD risks and potential benefits of CVD prevention strategies. Results. The age-standardised prevalence of having at least 2/4 metabolic, 2/5 behavioural, or 4/9 major CVDRF was 28%, 27%, 13% in women and 32%, 62%, 34% in men. Within-individual clustering of metabolic factors was more common among older women and in urban areas. High overall CVD risk (≥20% over 10 years) identified 20% of men and 5% of women—especially at higher ages—who had coexisting CVDRF. Conclusion. Multiple CVDRFs were common in Vietnamese adults with different clustering patterns across sex/age groups. Tackling any single risk factor would not be efficient.
doi:10.1155/2012/560397
PMCID: PMC3303616  PMID: 22500217
5.  Implementing a hypertension management programme in a rural area: local approaches and experiences from Ba-Vi district, Vietnam 
BMC Public Health  2011;11:325.
Background
Costly efforts have been invested to control and prevent cardiovascular diseases (CVD) and their risk factors but the ideal solutions for low resource settings remain unclear. This paper aims at summarising our approaches to implementing a programme on hypertension management in a rural commune of Vietnam.
Methods
In a rural commune, a programme has been implemented since 2006 to manage hypertensive people at the commune health station and to deliver health education on CVD risk factors to the entire community. An initial cross-sectional survey was used to screen for hypertensives who might enter the management programme. During 17 months of implementation, other people with hypertension were also followed up and treated. Data were collected from all individual medical records, including demographic factors, behavioural CVD risk factors, blood pressure levels, and number of check-ups. These data were analysed to identify factors relating to adherence to the management programme.
Results
Both top-down and bottom-up approaches were applied to implement a hypertension management programme. The programme was able to run independently at the commune health station after 17 months. During the implementation phase, 497 people were followed up with an overall regular follow-up of 65.6% and a dropout of 14.3%. Severity of hypertension and effectiveness of treatment were the main factors influencing the decision of people to adhere to the management programme, while being female, having several behavioural CVD risk factors or a history of chronic disease were the predictors for deviating from the programme.
Conclusion
Our model showed the feasibility, applicability and future potential of a community-based model of comprehensive hypertension care in a low resource context using both top-down and bottom-up approaches to engage all involved partners. This success also highlighted the important roles of both local authorities and a cardiac care network, led by an outstanding cardiac referral centre.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-11-325
PMCID: PMC3112133  PMID: 21586119
6.  Linnaeus: alive and well 
Global Health Action  2011;4:10.3402/gha.v4i0.5760.
doi:10.3402/gha.v4i0.5760
PMCID: PMC3021370  PMID: 21246023
aging; cognitive changes; database; demographic trends; lifecourse; longitudinal data; multi-disciplinary research
7.  What is global health? 
Global Health Action  2010;3:10.3402/gha.v3i0.5142.
doi:10.3402/gha.v3i0.5142
PMCID: PMC2852240  PMID: 20386617
8.  Guest Editorial: Strengthening NCD prevention through risk factor surveillance 
Global Health Action  2009;2:10.3402/gha.v2i0.2086.
doi:10.3402/gha.v2i0.2086
PMCID: PMC2785104  PMID: 20027247
9.  Association of Smoking and Khat (Catha edulis Forsk) Use With High Blood Pressure Among Adults in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 2006 
Preventing Chronic Disease  2008;5(3):A89.
Introduction
We assessed the prevalence of substance use and its association with high blood pressure among adults in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Methods
We employed a cross-sectional descriptive study design. The World Health Organization instrument for stepwise surveillance of risk factors for chronic diseases was applied on a probabilistic sample of 4001 men and women aged 25 to 64 years in Addis Ababa. We determined the prevalence of cigarette smoking, alcohol drinking, and khat (Catha edulis Forsk) chewing. We measured blood pressure by using a digital device and determined mean levels of systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Results
Smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol, and chewing khat were widely prevalent among men. Among men, the prevalence of current daily smoking was 11.0% (95% confidence interval [CI], 9.5%–12.5%). Binge drinking of alcohol was reported by 10.4% (95% CI, 9.0%–11.9%) of men. Similarly, 15.9% (95% CI, 14.1%–17.6%) of men regularly chewed khat. Consequently, 26.6% of men and 2.4% of women reported practicing one or more of the behaviors. Current daily smoking and regular khat chewing were significantly associated with elevated mean diastolic blood pressure (β = 2.1, P = .03 and β = 1.9, P = .02, respectively).
Conclusion
Cigarette smoking and khat chewing among men in Addis Ababa were associated with high blood pressure, an established risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Health promotion interventions should aim to prevent proliferation of such behaviors among young people and adoption by women. Surveillance for risk factors for cardiovascular disease should be implemented nationwide to provide information for policy decisions and to guide prevention and control programs.
PMCID: PMC2483558  PMID: 18558039

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