Open Access Highly Accessed Open Badges Research article

Cardiovascular screening in general practice in a low SES area

Ans H Tiessen1*, Andries J Smit2, Sebes Zevenhuizen3, Edwin M Spithoven2 and Klaas Van der Meer1

Author affiliations

1 University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Dept. General Practice, Groningen, The Netherlands

2 University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Dept. Internal medicine, Groningen, The Netherlands

3 General practitioner, Oude Pekela, Groningen, The Netherlands

For all author emails, please log on.

Citation and License

BMC Family Practice 2012, 13:117  doi:10.1186/1471-2296-13-117

Published: 10 December 2012



Lower social economic status (SES) is related to an elevated cardiovascular (CV) risk. A pro-active primary prevention CV screening approach in general practice (GP) might be effective in a region with a low mean SES. This approach, supported by a regional GP laboratory, was investigated on feasibility, attendance rate and proportion of persons identified with an elevated risk.


In a region with a low mean SES, men and women aged ≥50/55 years, respectively, were invited for cardiovascular risk profiling, based on SCORE 10-year risk of fatal cardiovascular disease and additional risk factors (family history, weight and end organ damage). Screening was performed by laboratory personnel, at the GP practice. Treatment advice was based on Dutch GP guidelines for cardiovascular risk management. Response rates were compared to those in five other practices, using the same screening method.


521 persons received invitations, 354 (68%) were interested, 33 did not attend and 43 were not further analysed because of already known diabetes/cardiovascular disease. Eventually 278 risk profiles were analysed, of which 60% had a low cardiovascular risk (SCORE-risk <5%). From the 40% participants with a SCORE-risk ≥5%, 60% did not receive medication yet for hypertension/hypercholesterolemia. In the other five GPs response rates were comparable to the currently described GP.


Screening in GP in a low SES area, performed by a laboratory service, was feasible, resulted in high attendance, and identification and treatment advice of many new persons at risk for cardiovascular disease.

General practice; Socio-economic status (SES); Cardiovascular risk management; Screening