Absolute risk

Absolute risk

Absolute cardiovascular disease risk is the numerical probability of a cardiovascular event occurring within a five-year period. It reflects a person's overall risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD) replacing the traditional method that considers various risk factors, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure, in isolation.

Clinical decisions based on absolute CVD risk can improve health outcomes by identifying people most at risk and directing them to the right treatment.

Guidelines and tools

Absolute risk calculator

The Australian Absolute risk calculator combines several risk factors to calculate a risk score (expressed as a percentage), which is a person’s chance of having a CVD event such as a heart attack or stroke in the next five years.

Risk charts

The Australian cardiovascular risk charts (PDF) provide an alternative to calculate risk in the form of printable colour charts to use in your practice.

Guidelines for the management of absolute cardiovascular disease risk

National Vascular Disease Prevention Alliance (NVDPA) resources

The Heart Foundation is a member of the National Vascular Disease Prevention Alliance (NVDPA). The alliance was formed to reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in Australia and is made up of the National Stroke Foundation, Diabetes Australia, Kidney Health Australia and the Heart Foundation.

The NVDPA have developed a short statement on the 10 things to know about the management of Absolute Cardiovascular Disease Risk (2012).

The NVDPA also developed five short videos to help you understand the purpose of an absolute risk approach in general practice.

Adopting evidence based practice for the prevention of cardiovascular diseases 

A tool for health professionals to:

  1. assess and manage patient’s risk inline with the guidelines, and
  2. implement absolute risk into practice.

Absolute risk within our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population

This video is for health professionals to assess, manage and understand absolute CVD risk for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population. 

How to use an absolute risk approach in your practice

Watch these videos to learn how to adopt an absolute risk approach in your practice. The videos feature leading experts Dr Tim Leahy, Professor Rod Jackson and Professor Mark Harris.
Video 1 - Absolute risk and what it means in practice
Video 2 - Reducing barriers to using an absolute risk approach
Video 3 - Engaging patients to think about absolute risk
Video 4 - Absolute risk assessment in Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander populations
Video 5 - Other issues in absolute risk assessment

Information for your patients

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