The SCORE project was initiated to develop a risk scoring system for use in the clinical management of cardiovascular risk in European clinical practice. The project assembled a pool of datasets from 12 European cohort studies, mainly carried out in general population settings. There were 20,5178 persons (88,080 women and 11,7098 men) representing 2.7 million person years of follow-up. There were 7934 cardiovascular deaths, of which 5652 were deaths from coronary heart disease. Ten-year risk of fatal cardiovascular disease was calculated using a Weibull model in which age was used as a measure of exposure time to risk rather than as a risk factor. Separate estimation equations were calculated for coronary heart disease and for non-coronary cardiovascular disease. These were calculated for high-risk and low-risk regions of Europe. Two parallel estimation models were developed, one based on total cholesterol and the other on total cholesterol/HDL cholesterol ratio. The risk estimations are displayed graphically in simple risk charts. Predictive value of the risk charts was examined by applying them to persons aged 45-64; areas under ROC curves ranged from 0.71 to 0.84. The SCORE risk estimation system offers direct estimation of total fatal cardiovascular risk in a format suited to the constraints of clinical practice.