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BACKGROUND: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) such as ischemic heart disease and stroke is the leading causes of death and disability globally with a growing burden in low and middle-income countries. A credible way of managing the incidence and prevalence of cardiovascular diseases is by reducing risk factors. This understanding has led to the development and recommendation for the clinical use of cardiovascular risk stratification tools. These tools enhance clinical decision-making. However, there is a lag in the implementation of these tools in most countries. This systematic review seeks to synthesise the current knowledge of the factors influencing the implementation of cardiovascular risk scoring in primary care settings. METHODS: We searched bibliographic databases and grey literature for studies of any design relating to the topic. Titles, abstracts and full texts were independently assessed for eligibility by two reviewers. This was followed by quality assessment and data extraction. We analysed data using an integrated and best fit framework synthesis approach to identify these factors. Quantitative and qualitative forms of data were combined into a single mixed-methods synthesis. The Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research was used as the guiding tool and template for this analysis. RESULTS: Twenty-five studies (cross-sectional n = 12, qualitative n = 9 and mixed-methods n = 4) were included in this review. Twenty (80%) of these were conducted in high-income countries. Only four studies (16%) included patients as participants. This review reports on a total of eleven cardiovascular risk stratification tools. The factors influencing the implementation of cardiovascular risk scoring are related to clinical setting and healthcare system (resources, priorities, practice culture and organisation), users (attributes and interactions between users) and the specific cardiovascular risk tool (characteristics, perceived role and effectiveness). CONCLUSIONS: While these findings bolster the understanding of implementation complexity, there exists limited research in the context of low and middle-income countries. Notwithstanding the need to direct resources in bridging this gap, it is also crucial that these efforts are in concert with providing high-quality evidence on the clinical effectiveness of using cardiovascular risk scoring to improve cardiovascular disease outcomes of mortality and morbidity. TRIAL REGISTRATION: PROSPERO registration number: CRD42018092679.

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Journal article


Implementation science : IS

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