Lifetime risk estimation for cardiovascular disease (CVD) has been proposed as a useful strategy to improve risk communication in the primary prevention setting. However, the perception of lifetime risk for CVD is unknown. We included 2,998 subjects from the Dallas Heart Study. Lifetime risk for developing CVD was classified as high (≥39%) versus low (<39%) according to risk factor burden as described in our previously published algorithm. Perception of lifetime risk for myocardial infarction was assessed by way of a 5-point scale. Baseline characteristics were compared across levels of perceived lifetime risk. Multivariable logistic regression analyses were performed to determine the association of participant characteristics with level of perceived lifetime risk for CVD and with correctness of perceptions. Of the 2,998 participants, 64.8% (n = 1,942) were classified as having high predicted lifetime risk for CVD. There was significant discordance between perceived and predicted lifetime risk. After multivariable adjustment, family history of premature myocardial infarction, high self-reported stress, and low perceived health were all strongly associated with high perceived lifetime risk (odds ratio [OR] 2.37, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.72 to 3.27; OR 2.17, 95% CI 1.66 to 2.83; and OR 2.71, 95% CI 2.09 to 3.53; respectively). However, the association between traditional CVD risk factors and high perceived lifetime risk was more modest. In conclusion, misperception of lifetime risk for CVD is common and frequently reflects the influence of factors other than traditional risk factor levels. These findings highlight the importance of effectively communicating the significance of traditional risk factors in determining the lifetime risk for CVD.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine