QRISK tool picks up more patients at risk of heart disease

30 May 2017

Research in The BMJ has revealed that a tool used for a decade to find patients at risk of heart disease is now detecting groups that might previously have slipped through the net.

The QRISK® tool developed using research with anonymised information from the QResearch database (www.qresearch.org) – a joint not-for-profit project from EMIS Health and the University of Nottingham – is now using new risk factors for heart disease including migraine, the autoimmune disease lupus, severe mental illness, use of corticosteroids, erectile dysfunction and blood pressure variations. 

 It is an important development for the 15m people in England who are eligible for a five-yearly NHS Health Check, which uses the QRISK calculator to ‘score’ patients’ heart disease risk.

A team led by Julia Hippisley-Cox, Professor of Clinical Epidemiology at the University of Nottingham and medical director of ClinRisk Ltd, used anonymised EMIS Web practice computer records to study data from 7.89 million patients aged 25-84 to develop the new version of the score, and a further 2.67 million to test its performance.

The new risk factors used in the research performed well enough to be included in an updated version of QRISK

Professor Hippisley-Cox said: “This publication in the BMJ coincides with the 10-year anniversary of the publication of the original QRISK score, and much has been achieved since then. It is now the leading tool in the UK to assess cardiovascular risk, and GPs can now identify more at-risk people than ever and offer lifestyle advice and preventative treatment.”  

EMIS Group’s chief medical officer Dr Shaun O’Hanlon said: “This is a major advance in the detection of heart disease and stroke and we are very proud of our long-term partnership with the university on the QRISK tool, and other research. At the same time, we are grateful for the continued commitment of practices using our systems who contribute the data that makes this kind of vital work possible.”