Is the NHS 'Heart Age Test' too much medicine?

Carissa Bonner, Shannon McKinn, Kirsten McCaffrey, Paul Glasziou, Les Irwig, Jenny Doust, Jesse Jansen, Katy Bell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

The NHS ‘Heart Age Test’ has expanded cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk assessment in the UK to include younger people (<40 years). Public Health England’s (PHE) Healthy Heart campaign, launched in September 2018, encourages all adults aged >30 years to do the test, stating: ‘Having a heart age older than your chronological age means that you are at a higher risk of having a heart attack or stroke.’ But does older heart age really mean high risk? The calculator will give you an older age if at least one CVD risk factor is higher than the level set as ‘optimal’; but this does not necessarily mean you are at high risk of a CVD event in the next 10 years. Is there evidence to support PHE’s promotion of the Heart Age Test? To find out, we evaluated the Heart Age Test according to PHE’s own UK National Screening Committee (UK NSC) criteria. This analysis suggests heart age is not a good screening test.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)560-561
Number of pages2
JournalJournal of the Royal College of General Practitioners
Volume69
Issue number688
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019

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