Wider bespoke screening for individuals over the age of 40 based on a life style and health risk assessment could prevent 1 in 10 heart attacks according to recent research by University College London.
The researchers monitored 7,000 people and placed them in risk categories based on factors such as blood pressure, cholesterol, blood-sugar levels, smoker status, age and family history which are considered relevant to a person’s chance of having a heart attack or stroke.
Under the current system NHS patients are checked every 5 years, but University College London found that low-risk patients were receiving checks too frequently while high-risk patients were not reviewed often enoug.
The cost of individually targeted screening for medium to high-risk patients every year, medium to low-risk every four years, and low-risk patients every seven years would be the same as for the current system.
As such a revised system has the potential to be more effective without incurring additional costs.
I and my colleagues have represented many patients who suffered unnecessarily because symptoms are not picked up or medication is not adequately reviewed.
Putting in place a system tailored to the individual could improve care for all.
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Professor Mika Kivimaki, one of the researchers, said: "The key message is use individualised screening, not one-size-fits-all.