Effectiveness and cost effectiveness of cardiovascular disease prevention in whole populations: modelling study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle



Objective To estimate the potential cost effectiveness of a population-wide risk factor reduction programme aimed at preventing cardiovascular disease. Design Economic modelling analysis. Setting England and Wales. Population Entire population. Model Spreadsheet model to quantify the reduction in cardiovascular disease over a decade, assuming the benefits apply consistently for men and women across age and risk groups. Main outcome measures Cardiovascular events avoided, quality adjusted life years gained, and savings in healthcare costs for a given effectiveness; estimates of how much it would be worth spending to achieve a specific outcome. Results A programme across the entire population of England and Wales (about 50 million people) that reduced cardiovascular events by just 1% would result in savings to the health service worth at least 30m pound ((sic)34m; $48m) a year compared with no additional intervention. Reducing mean cholesterol concentrations or blood pressure levels in the population by 5% (as already achieved by similar interventions in some other countries) would result in annual savings worth at least 80m pound to 100m pound. Legislation or other measures to reduce dietary salt intake by 3 g/day (current mean intake approximately 8.5 g/day) would prevent approximately 30 000 cardiovascular events, with savings worth at least 40m pound a year. Legislation to reduce intake of industrial trans fatty acid by approximately 0.5% of total energy content might gain around 570 000 life years and generate NHS savings worth at least 230m pound a year. Conclusions Any intervention that achieved even a modest population-wide reduction in any major cardiovascular risk factor would produce a net cost saving to the NHS, as well as improving health. Given the conservative assumptions used in this model, the true benefits would probably be greater.


Original languageEnglish
Article numberd4044
JournalBritish Medical Journal (International edition)
Issue number7819
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2011