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Translating cardiovascular disease prevention guidelines into practice

Dr Carissa Bonner, Institution: University of Sydney

2016 Postdoctoral Fellowship

Years funded: 2017-2022


Dr Carissa Bonner’s research aims to improve the use of Australian absolute risk guidelines for cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevention by increasing:
  1. GPs' use of CVD risk calculators
  2. Appropriate prescribing of cholesterol and blood pressure medication for prevention, based on patients' calculated level of risk
  3. Patients' understanding of their risk, and involvement in decision making about how to manage it.

The Australian guidelines are based on research evidence that shows the best way to prevent CVD is to base recommendations for medication and lifestyle change on the patient's 'absolute risk', which is the percentage chance of having a heart attack or stroke over the next 5 years.

There are different recommendations for the use of medication and lifestyle change depending on whether the absolute risk level is low (<10%), moderate (10-15%), or high (>15%). However, GPs do not always calculate absolute risk, and find it hard to explain to patients.

Dr Bonner will develop an interactive online version of the guidelines linked to GP training exercises and patient communication tools. Dr Bonner aims to improve GPs' knowledge and use of the absolute risk guidelines and to provide patients with information tailored to their CVD risk level. This enables patients to be more involved in decision making about their own CVD prevention.

This project is co-funded with NHMRC - National Health and Medical Research Council.

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