Evaluating the use of the heart age tool in community pharmacies: A 4-week cluster-randomized controlled trial

Karianne Svendsen, David R. Jacobs, Lisa T. Mørch-Reiersen, Kjersti W. Garstad, Hege Berg Henriksen, Vibeke H. Telle-Hansen, Kjetil Retterstøl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: Joint British Societies have developed a tool that utilizes information on cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors to estimate an individual's 'heart age'. We studied if using heart age as an add-on to conventional risk communication could enhance the motivation for adapting to a healthier lifestyle resulting in improved whole-blood cholesterol and omega-3 status after 4 weeks. Methods: A total of 48 community pharmacies were cluster-randomized to use heart age+conventional risk communication (intervention) or only conventional risk communication (control) in 378 subjects after CVD risk-factor assessment. Dried blood spots were obtained with a 4-week interval to assay whole-blood cholesterol and omega-3 fatty acids. We also explored pharmacy-staff's (n=27) perceived utility of the heart age tool. Results: Subjects in the intervention pharmacies (n=137) had mean heart age 64 years and chorological age 60 years. In these, cholesterol decreased by median (interquartile range)-0.10 (-0.40, 0.35) mmol/l. Cholesterol decreased by-0.20 (-0.70, 0.30) mmol/l (P difference =0.24) in subjects in the control pharmacies (n=120) with mean chronological age 60 years. We observed increased concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids after 4 weeks, non-differentially between groups. Pharmacy-staff (n=27) agreed that heart age was a good way to communicate CVD risk, and most (n=25) agreed that it appeared to motivate individuals to reduce elevated CVD risk factors. Conclusions: The heart age tool was considered a convenient and motivating communication tool by pharmacy-staff. Nevertheless, communicating CVD risk as heart age was not more effective than conventional risk communication alone in reducing whole-blood cholesterol levels and improving omega-3 status.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1139-1145
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean journal of public health
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Author(s). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the European Public Health Association. All rights reserved.


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