Background: Nurses play a key role in the prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and one would, therefore, expect them to have a heightened awareness of the need for systematic screening and their own CVD risk profile. The aim of this study was to examine personal awareness of CVD risk among a cohort of cardiovascular nurses attending a European conference. Methods: Of the 340 delegates attending the 5th annual Spring Meeting on Cardiovascular Nursing (Basel, Switzerland, 2005), 287 (83%) completed a self-report questionnaire to assess their own risk factors for CVD. Delegates were also asked to give an estimation of their absolute total risk of experiencing a fatal CVD event in the next 10 years. Level of agreement between self-reported CVD risk estimation and their actual risk according to the SCORE risk assessment system was compared by calculating weighted Kappa (κw). Results: Overall, 109 responders (38%) self-reported having either pre-existing CVD (only 2%), one or more markedly raised CVD risk factors, a high total risk of fatal CVD (≥ 5% in 10 years) or a strong family history of CVD. About half of this cohort (53%) did not know their own total cholesterol level. Less than half (45%) reported having a 10-year risk of fatal CVD of < 1%, while 13% reported having a risk ≥ 5%. Based on the SCORE risk function, the estimated 10-year risk of a fatal CVD event was < 1% for 96% of responders: only 2% had a ≥ 5% risk of such an event. Overall, less than half (46%) of this cohort's self-reported CVD risk corresponded with that calculated using the SCORE risk function (κw = 0.27). Conclusion: Most cardiovascular nurses attending a European conference in 2005 poorly understood their own CVD risk profile, and the agreement between their self-reported 10-year risk of a fatal CVD and their CVD risk using SCORE was only fair. Given the specialist nature of this conference, our findings clearly demonstrate a need to improve overall nursing awareness of the role and importance of systematic CVD risk assessment.

Cardiac nurses, Cardiovascular risk factors, Europe, Risk estimation, Survey, UNITE,
European Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing
Department of Anesthesiology

Scholte op Reimer, W.J.M, Moons, P, de Geest, S, Fridlund, B, Heikkilä, J, Jaarsma, T, … Thompson, D.R. (2006). Cardiovascular risk estimation by professionally active cardiovascular nurses: Results from the Basel 2005 Nurses Cohort. European Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing, 5(4), 258–263. doi:10.1016/j.ejcnurse.2006.06.007