What is QRISK?

Fast facts about QRISK, an algorithm for predicting cardiovascular risk.

QRISK is an algorithm for predicting cardiovascular risk. It estimates the risk of a person developing cardiovascular disease (CVD) over the next 10 years and can be applied to those aged between 35 and 74 years.

Those with a score of 20 per cent or more are considered to be at high risk of developing CVD.

Most pharmacists will have heard of the Framingham Heart Study (a huge epidemiological study to identify the common factors or characteristics that contribute to CVD) and the tools developed from this to calculate risk of CVD.

Shortcomings of Framingham scores 

However, the Framingham algorithm was based on North American data and, as a result, it is claimed that it overestimates cardiovascular risk in European populations. It is also claimed that Framingham may underestimate cardiovascular risk in people with diabetes, South Asian men and those who are socially deprived.

QRISK takes into account many of the traditional risk factors included in the Framingham algorithm (eg, age, sex, cholesterol-high density lipoprotein ratio, blood pressure, diabetes and smoking status).

QRISK is UK-specific 

However, it is based on UK data and includes additional risk factors, such as ethnicity, deprivation (measured using the Townsend deprivation score, which is obtained from data associated with a person’s postcode), blood pressure treatment and body mass index.

It is argued that QRISK is an improvement on Framingham for the UK population. The latest version of the algorithm, QRISK2, is based on UK data collected between 1993 and 2008.

The QRISK2 cardiovascular disease risk calculator is available at www.qrisk.org

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, August 2009;()::DOI:10.1211/PJ.2021.1.69451