Feasibility of cardiovascular risk screening in Portuguese community pharmacies
Background: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) remains the leading cause of human mortality. As highly accessible and qualified health professionals, community pharmacists can be included in the early detection of patients at risk for CVD by implementing CVD screening programs.
Objective: To assess the feasibility of CVD risk screening services in Portuguese community pharmacies from the evaluation of customers acceptability.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted in a community pharmacy in Portugal. The purpose of entering the pharmacy was recorded for all customers. Afterwards, the customers were invited to be interviewed by the pharmacist, who registered their willingness to participate and collected the participants’ data and biochemical and physical parameters to assess their CV risk by applying the Systematic COronary Risk Evaluation (SCORE) model. For the participants who were not eligible for the SCORE-based risk assessment, the pharmacist considered the major modifiable CVD risk factors - hypertension, dyslipidemia, smoking habits, obesity, impaired fasting glucose and sedentary behavior - according to the ESC guidelines.
Results: Picking up medication was the most prevalent reason 69.8% (n=1,600) for entering the pharmacy, and among the contacted customers, 56.4% (n=621) agreed to have their CVD risk assessed. Of the 588 participants, 56.6% (n=333) were already on CV pharmacotherapy and were therefore not eligible for screening. Of the 43.4% (n=255) CV pharmacotherapy-naïve participants, 94.9% (n=242) were screened with at least one CVD risk factor; 52.9% (n=135) were not eligible for the SCORE assessment, of which 92.6% (n=125) presented CVD risk factors. Of the 120 SCORE eligible participants, 80.0% (n=96) were at least at moderate risk of CVD.
Conclusions: We determined the feasibility of CVD risk screening in Portuguese community pharmacies, as we found high customer acceptability, noted the reasons for nonattendance, and found a high prevalence of CVD risk factors in at-risk patients. This is an opportunity for Portuguese community pharmacists to take a leading role in the early detection of CVD.
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