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      The NHS Health Check in England: an evaluation of the first 4 years

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          Abstract

          Objectives

          To describe implementation of a new national preventive programme to reduce cardiovascular morbidity.

          Design

          Observational study over 4 years (April 2009—March 2013).

          Setting

          655 general practices across England from the QResearch database.

          Participants

          Eligible adults aged 40–74 years including attendees at a National Health Service (NHS) Health Check.

          Intervention

          NHS Health Check: routine structured cardiovascular check with support for behavioural change and in those at highest risk, treatment of risk factors and newly identified comorbidity.

          Results

          Of 1.68 million people eligible for an NHS Health Check, 214 295 attended in the period 2009–12. Attendance quadrupled as the programme progressed; 5.8% in 2010 to 30.1% in 2012. Attendance was relatively higher among older people, of whom 19.6% of those eligible at age 60–74 years attended and 9.0% at age 40–59 years. Attendance by population groups at higher cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk, such as the more socially disadvantaged 14.9%, was higher than that of the more affluent 12.3%. Among attendees 7844 new cases of hypertension (38/1000 Checks), 1934 new cases of type 2 diabetes (9/1000 Checks) and 807 new cases of chronic kidney disease (4/1000 Checks) were identified. Of the 27 624 people found to be at high CVD risk (20% or more 10-year risk) when attending an NHS Health Check, 19.3% (5325) were newly prescribed statins and 8.8% (2438) were newly prescribed antihypertensive therapy.

          Conclusions

          NHS Health Check coverage was lower than expected but showed year-on-year improvement. Newly identified comorbidities were an important feature of the NHS Health Checks. Statin treatment at national scale for 1 in 5 attendees at highest CVD risk is likely to have contributed to important reductions in their CVD events.

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          Most cited references33

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          Randomised trial of cholesterol lowering in 4444 patients with coronary heart disease: the Scandinavian Simvastatin Survival Study (4S)

          Drug therapy for hypercholesterolaemia has remained controversial mainly because of insufficient clinical trial evidence for improved survival. The present trial was designed to evaluate the effect of cholesterol lowering with simvastatin on mortality and morbidity in patients with coronary heart disease (CHD). 4444 patients with angina pectoris or previous myocardial infarction and serum cholesterol 5.5-8.0 mmol/L on a lipid-lowering diet were randomised to double-blind treatment with simvastatin or placebo. Over the 5.4 years median follow-up period, simvastatin produced mean changes in total cholesterol, low-density-lipoprotein cholesterol, and high-density-lipoprotein cholesterol of -25%, -35%, and +8%, respectively, with few adverse effects. 256 patients (12%) in the placebo group died, compared with 182 (8%) in the simvastatin group. The relative risk of death in the simvastatin group was 0.70 (95% CI 0.58-0.85, p = 0.0003). The 6-year probabilities of survival in the placebo and simvastatin groups were 87.6% and 91.3%, respectively. There were 189 coronary deaths in the placebo group and 111 in the simvastatin group (relative risk 0.58, 95% CI 0.46-0.73), while noncardiovascular causes accounted for 49 and 46 deaths, respectively. 622 patients (28%) in the placebo group and 431 (19%) in the simvastatin group had one or more major coronary events. The relative risk was 0.66 (95% CI 0.59-0.75, p < 0.00001), and the respective probabilities of escaping such events were 70.5% and 79.6%. This risk was also significantly reduced in subgroups consisting of women and patients of both sexes aged 60 or more. Other benefits of treatment included a 37% reduction (p < 0.00001) in the risk of undergoing myocardial revascularisation procedures. This study shows that long-term treatment with simvastatin is safe and improves survival in CHD patients.
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            General health checks in adults for reducing morbidity and mortality from disease: Cochrane systematic review and meta-analysis

            Objectives To quantify the benefits and harms of general health checks in adults with an emphasis on patient-relevant outcomes such as morbidity and mortality rather than on surrogate outcomes. Design Cochrane systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised trials. For mortality, we analysed the results with random effects meta-analysis, and for other outcomes we did a qualitative synthesis as meta-analysis was not feasible. Data sources Medline, EMBASE, Healthstar, Cochrane Library, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, CINAHL, EPOC register, ClinicalTrials.gov, and WHO ICTRP, supplemented by manual searches of reference lists of included studies, citation tracking (Web of Knowledge), and contacts with trialists. Selection criteria Randomised trials comparing health checks with no health checks in adult populations unselected for disease or risk factors. Health checks defined as screening general populations for more than one disease or risk factor in more than one organ system. We did not include geriatric trials. Data extraction Two observers independently assessed eligibility, extracted data, and assessed the risk of bias. We contacted authors for additional outcomes or trial details when necessary. Results We identified 16 trials, 14 of which had available outcome data (182 880 participants). Nine trials provided data on total mortality (11 940 deaths), and they gave a risk ratio of 0.99 (95% confidence interval 0.95 to 1.03). Eight trials provided data on cardiovascular mortality (4567 deaths), risk ratio 1.03 (0.91 to 1.17), and eight on cancer mortality (3663 deaths), risk ratio 1.01 (0.92 to 1.12). Subgroup and sensitivity analyses did not alter these findings. We did not find beneficial effects of general health checks on morbidity, hospitalisation, disability, worry, additional physician visits, or absence from work, but not all trials reported on these outcomes. One trial found that health checks led to a 20% increase in the total number of new diagnoses per participant over six years compared with the control group and an increased number of people with self reported chronic conditions, and one trial found an increased prevalence of hypertension and hypercholesterolaemia. Two out of four trials found an increased use of antihypertensives. Two out of four trials found small beneficial effects on self reported health, which could be due to bias. Conclusions General health checks did not reduce morbidity or mortality, neither overall nor for cardiovascular or cancer causes, although they increased the number of new diagnoses. Important harmful outcomes were often not studied or reported. Systematic review registration Cochrane Library, doi:10.1002/14651858.CD009009.
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              Effect of screening and lifestyle counselling on incidence of ischaemic heart disease in general population: Inter99 randomised trial

              Objective To investigate the effect of systematic screening for risk factors for ischaemic heart disease followed by repeated lifestyle counselling on the 10 year development of ischaemic heart disease at a population level. Design Randomised controlled community based trial. Setting Suburbs of Copenhagen, Denmark Participants 59 616 people aged 30-60 years randomised with different age and sex randomisation ratios to an intervention group (n=11 629) and a control group (n=47 987). Intervention The intervention group was invited for screening, risk assessment, and lifestyle counselling up to four times over a five year period. All participants with an unhealthy lifestyle had individually tailored lifestyle counselling at all visits (at baseline and after one and three years); those at high risk of ischaemic heart disease, according to predefined criteria, were furthermore offered six sessions of group based lifestyle counselling on smoking cessation, diet, and physical activity. After five years all were invited for a final counselling session. Participants were referred to their general practitioner for medical treatment, if relevant. The control group was not invited for screening. Main outcome measures The primary outcome measure was incidence of ischaemic heart disease in the intervention group compared with the control group. Secondary outcome measures were stroke, combined events (ischaemic heart disease, stroke, or both), and mortality. Results 6091 (52.4%) people in the intervention group participated at baseline. Among 5978 people eligible at five year follow-up (59 died and 54 emigrated), 4028 (67.4%) attended. A total of 3163 people died in the 10 year follow-up period. Among 58 308 without a history of ischaemic heart disease at baseline, 2782 developed ischaemic heart disease. Among 58 940 without a history of stroke at baseline, 1726 developed stroke. No significant difference was seen between the intervention and control groups in the primary end point (hazard ratio for ischaemic heart disease 1.03, 95% confidence interval 0.94 to 1.13) or in the secondary endpoints (stroke 0.98, 0.87 to 1.11; combined endpoint 1.01, 0.93 to 1.09; total mortality 1.00, 0.91 to 1.09). Conclusion A community based, individually tailored intervention programme with screening for risk of ischaemic heart disease and repeated lifestyle intervention over five years had no effect on ischaemic heart disease, stroke, or mortality at the population level after 10 years. Trial registration Clinical trials NCT00289237.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                BMJ Open
                BMJ Open
                bmjopen
                bmjopen
                BMJ Open
                BMJ Publishing Group (BMA House, Tavistock Square, London, WC1H 9JR )
                2044-6055
                2016
                12 January 2016
                : 6
                : 1
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Centre for Primary Care and Public Health, Queen Mary University of London , London, UK
                [2 ]Usher Institute of Population Health Sciences and Informatics, The University of Edinburgh , Edinburgh, UK
                [3 ]School of Community Health Sciences, The University of Nottingham , Nottingham, UK
                Author notes
                [Correspondence to ] John Robson; j.robson@ 123456qmul.ac.uk
                Article
                bmjopen-2015-008840
                10.1136/bmjopen-2015-008840
                4735215
                26762161
                5bbd396b-20a7-4934-b3a4-a30da9c6f89a
                Published by the BMJ Publishing Group Limited. For permission to use (where not already granted under a licence) please go to http://www.bmj.com/company/products-services/rights-and-licensing/

                This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt and build upon this work, for commercial use, provided the original work is properly cited. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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                Categories
                Cardiovascular Medicine
                Research
                1506
                1683
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                Medicine
                primary care,health check,cardiovascular risk prevention,cardiovascular risk
                Medicine
                primary care, health check, cardiovascular risk prevention, cardiovascular risk

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