Background Understanding of how cardiovascular risk information influence individuals is critical for the practice of risk assessment and the management of patients with cardiovascular disease. Objectives The objective of this study was to investigate change in mental distress among research participants after undergoing a cardiovascular risk assessment and receiving individual test results. Methods In 2017, a questionnaire measuring mental distress after taking part in a risk assessment was distributed among 615 participants in the Swedish Cardiopulmonary Bio Image Study in Uppsala, Sweden, aged 50–64 years. Outcome measures were re-assessed after three months (30% were lost to follow-up). Results There were no differences in outcomes after three months for participants with normal test results or for participants who were referred to primary health care. Mental distress increased in participants who were referred to the hospital, and were further explained by the fact that these participants were diagnosed with coronary artery stenosis. Conclusions CV risk information can be provided to individuals with lower levels of risk without concerns of inducing mental distress. However, in order to prevent unnecessary worry in contexts similar to this study, one should be prepared for different risk outcomes and plan for support for individuals with higher risk. The increased utility of powerful, yet not fully mature, imaging techniques requires careful considerations extending beyond medical risks and benefits; the clinician must also take into account the risk of mental distress and secure support when necessary.
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Grauman, A, Hansson, M.G., Puranen, A, James, S.K, & Veldwijk, J. (2019). Short-term mental distress in research participants after receiving cardiovascular risk information. PLoS ONE. Retrieved from