Systematic review of three decades of Spanish cardiovascular epidemiology: Improving translation for a future of prevention

Manuel Franco, Usama Bilal, Eliseo Guallar, Ginés Sanz, Alicia F. Gómez, Valentín Fuster, Richard Cooper

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Background: In order to improve national cardiovascular disease (CVD) epidemiology and prevention, we systematically reviewed and analyzed the relevant literature produced in the last three decades for Spain. Design: Systematic Review. Methods: We searched for all the articles aiming to monitor CVD clinical endpoints and risk factors in the Spanish general population that were indexed in MEDLINE and EMBASE. Based on international recommendations, we analyzed each article with a three-level scoring system (low to high) for the following criteria: data quality, representativeness and translation of results into preventive interventions. Results: We reviewed 2565 articles, selecting 314 for in-depth analysis. Articles about diet, blood pressure, obesity and smoking represented 53% of all published CVD studies, whereas those about physical activity or psychosocial factors represented only 5%. Low data quality was found in 67% and 60% of the articles about physical activity and smoking, respectively. High data quality was found in 77% and 61% of the articles dedicated to diet and blood pressure, respectively. Representativeness was low for 41%, 31% and 25% of the studies focusing on diet, smoking and diabetes, respectively. Translation of research results into prevention scored lowest of all three criteria, as 41% of all 314 articles scored low. None of the articles on obesity, diabetes, lipids, physical activity or psychosocial factors identified any specific preventive intervention. Conclusion: Future Spanish CVD epidemiology research will benefit from improving not just the quality and representativeness of the data measured, but drastically improving the translation of research results into future preventive interventions. The lack of a translational focus remains the fundamental gap in CVD research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)565-576
Number of pages12
JournalEuropean Journal of Preventive Cardiology (EJPC)
Issue number4
Early online date13 Jul 2012
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Cardiovascular disease
  • data quality
  • epidemiology
  • prevention
  • representativeness
  • retrospective analysis
  • Spain
  • study design
  • study scoring system
  • translational research


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