Feature Article

Primary prevention of coronary heart disease

Ian Hamilton-Craig



Improvements in medical treatment and better risk factor control, particularly of smoking and hypertension, have decreased the rates of mortality and morbidity associated with coronary heart disease.

Key Points

  • Coronary heart disease (CHD) remains a major cause of death and disability in Australia.
  • There have been more than 100 risk factors for CHD defined.
  • More than 90% of CHD risk can be attributed to nine modifiable risk factors.
  • Absolute risk assessment can be determined using New Zealand Guidelines Group or Framingham risk charts.
  • More than 90% of CHD events occur in patients with one or more risk factors, although CHD is uncommon in those with no risk factors.
  • Lifestyle interventions are an important aspect of primary prevention of CHD.