Researchers found that using family history questionnaires increased the average proportion of patients considered high risk by 4.5 percentage points compared with control clinics that relied on medical records, study authors wrote in the Feb. 21 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.
The study, conducted in two dozen family practices from July 2007 to March 2009, included 748 people with no diagnosed heart disease or diabetes. One dozen clinics asked patients ages 30 to 65 to answer questions about personal medical history, heart disease among parents and grandparents and other family with heart disease.
“Our study shows that using systematic family history information increases the proportion of persons who can be identified as having the highest cardiovascular risk in the general primary-care population,” study authors wrote. “This potentially low-cost approach also seems feasible in practice and is acceptable to patients.”