Background: Nurses play a key role in the prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and one would, therefore, expect them to have a heightened awareness of the need for systematic screening and their own CVD risk profile. The aim of this study was to examine personal awareness of CVD risk among a cohort of cardiovascular nurses attending a European conference. Methods: Of the 340 delegates attending the 5th annual Spring Meeting on Cardiovascular Nursing (Basel, Switzerland, 2005), 287 (83%) completed a self-report questionnaire to assess their own risk factors for CVD. Delegates were also asked to give an estimation of their absolute total risk of experiencing a fatal CVD event in the next 10 years. Level of agreement between self-reported CVD risk estimation and their actual risk according to the SCORE risk assessment system was compared by calculating weighted Kappa (κw). Results: Overall, 109 responders (38%) self-reported having either pre-existing CVD (only 2%), one or more markedly raised CVD risk factors, a high total risk of fatal CVD (≥ 5% in 10 years) or a strong family history of CVD. About half of this cohort (53%) did not know their own total cholesterol level. Less than half (45%) reported having a 10-year risk of fatal CVD of < 1%, while 13% reported having a risk ≥ 5%. Based on the SCORE risk function, the estimated 10-year risk of a fatal CVD event was < 1% for 96% of responders: only 2% had a ≥ 5% risk of such an event. Overall, less than half (46%) of this cohort's self-reported CVD risk corresponded with that calculated using the SCORE risk function (κw = 0.27). Conclusion: Most cardiovascular nurses attending a European conference in 2005 poorly understood their own CVD risk profile, and the agreement between their self-reported 10-year risk of a fatal CVD and their CVD risk using SCORE was only fair. Given the specialist nature of this conference, our findings clearly demonstrate a need to improve overall nursing awareness of the role and importance of systematic CVD risk assessment. © 2006 European Society of Cardiology.
2006. Vol. 5, no 4, 258-263 p.