Study finds misclassification of risk groups for heart diseases

September 04, 2015

The authors looked at whether the simplified version might lead to different risk estimates and potentially different treatment recommendations as a consequence. The researchers used data for 2,543 people (representing 39 million adults) aged 20-79 years. For each individual, the authors calculated the 10-year risk of major coronary events using both the original and simplified point-based Framingham models. They looked at the differences in these risk estimates and whether these differences would place subjects into different risk categories.

Gordon and team found that the two estimates of coronary risk differed significantly. The simplified version reclassified 15 percent of adults into different risk groups, corresponding to 5.7 million people. Of those, 10 percent (3.9 million) were reclassified into higher-risk groups and 5 percent (1.8 million) into lower-risk groups. As a consequence, 25-45 percent of reclassified adults could have been treated differently i.e. either received more or less intensive therapy than would otherwise be recommended according to drug treatment guidelines.

The authors conclude: "Current guidelines should strongly consider endorsing the original model as the preferred method of risk calculation and as the sole appropriate option for computer or PDA-based risk calculators. Patients and clinicians who made treatment decisions based on the point-based system should also consider recalculating risk based on the original Framingham model and, where appropriate, adjust treatment plans accordingly."

Source: Springer