A population-based screening study for cardiovascular diseases and diabetes in Danish postmenopausal women: acceptability and prevalence

Marie Dahl Thomsen (Ph.d Studerende, Lars Frost (Medvejleder), Rikke Søgaard (medvejleder), Ib Christian Klausen, Vibeke Lorentzen, Jes Lindholt (hovedvejleder)

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Abstract Background: Reducing women’s cardiovascular risk and the economic costs associated with cardiovascular diseases (CVD) and diabetes (DM) continues to be a challenge. Whether a multifaceted CVD screening programme is beneficial as a preventive strategy in women remains uncertain. The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence of CVD and DM as well as the acceptability toward screening and preventive actions. Methods: An observational study was performed among all women born in 1936, 1941, 1946 and 1951 living in Viborg Municipality, Denmark, from October 2011. In total, 1984 were invited to screening for abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA), peripheral arterial disease (PAD), carotid plaque (CP), hypertension (HT), atrial fibrillation (AF), DM and dyslipidaemia. Participants with positive tests were offered prophylactic intervention including follow-up consultations in case of AAA, PAD and/or CP. Participants with AAA ≥ 50 mm were referred to specialists in vascular surgery. Women with AF or potential familial hypercholesterolaemia (FH) were referred to cardiology work-up. Results: Among those invited, 1474 (74.3%) attended screening, but the attendees’ share decreased with increasing age groups (p < 0.001). AAA was diagnosed in 10 (0.7%) women, PAD in 101 (6.9%) and CP in 602 (40.8%). The percentage of women with these conditions rose with increasing age group (p < 0.05). Unconfirmed potential HT was observed in 94 (6.4%), unknown AF in 6 (0.4%), DM in 14 (1%) and potential FH in 35 (2.4%). None of these findings differed across age groups. Among the 631 women diagnosed with AAA, PAD and/or CP, 182 (28.8%) were already in antiplatelet and 223 (35.3%) in lipid-lowering therapy prior to screening. Antiplatelet therapy was initiated in 215 (34. 1%) and lipid-lowering therapy in 191 (30.3%) women. Initiation of antiplatelet and lipid-lowering therapy was further recommended to 134 (21.2%) and 141 (22.4%) women, respectively, who hesitated to follow the recommendation. Conclusions: The study recorded an acceptable total attendance rate, even though a significantly lower attendance rate was observed in the eldest women. The identified hesitation towards prophylactic therapy may affect the rationale and effectiveness of CVD screening, and hesitation seems a critical issue that should be addressed in the design of future screening programmes. Keywords: Observational study, Screening, Peripheral arterial diseases, Abdominal aortic aneurysm, Diabetes mellitus type 2, Hypertension, Atrial fibrillation, Carotid plaque
Original languageEnglish
JournalBMC Cardiovascular Disorders
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)20
Publication statusPublished - 5 Feb 2018


  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Cardiovascular Diseases/diagnosis
  • Denmark/epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus/diagnosis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening/methods
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care
  • Postmenopause
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prevalence
  • Prognosis
  • Program Evaluation
  • Referral and Consultation
  • Sex Factors
  • disease, health science and nursing

Cite this