Supporting the detection of cardiovascular disease
We have produced an overview of rapid tests for cholesterol.
Heart and circulatory disease, also known as cardiovascular disease, causes 1 in 4 deaths in the UK. The NHS Health Check programme is a free health check-up for people in England aged 40 to 74. A quick test for cholesterol during the check-up could help to spot people at high risk of cardiovascular disease. Patients could then get advice to improve their risk. However, unreliable tests could lead to false reassurance or unnecessary treatment.
In 2021, the Academic Health Science Network for the North East and North Cumbria (AHSN NENC) commissioned the NIHR Newcastle MIC to review the tests for cholesterol that are currently available and could be used during the check up.
- We identified 44 studies that examined the accuracy of 16 tests for cholesterol.
- Four tests met the requirements of the National Cholesterol Education Program: CardioChek PA; CardioChek Plus; Piccolo Xpress and the cobas b 101 system.
- We wrote a report for the AHSN NENC and presented the findings at the NHS Health Check Local Implementer National Forum hosted by the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities, part of the UK Department of Health and Social Care.
- Potential saving of NHS resources. The report could help NHS Health Checks and healthcare providers to select the best rapid tests for cholesterol and reduce the need for laboratory costs.
- Improving patient care. To our knowledge, this is the only recent report about cholesterol measurement that healthcare professionals can use to help treat and provide guidance to patients more quickly.
- Supporting the NHS national policy by sharing our findings with the UK government departments, the NHS and local authority commissioners from across England.