Improving early detection of CVD

RED-CVD (Reviving Early Diagnosis of CardioVascular Disease) is a collaboration between researchers from the University Medical Center Groningen, the Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care in Utrecht, and the University of Twente, funded by the Dutch Heart Foundation (Hartstichting). The RED-CVD consortium aims to improve early detection of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in primary care.

Improving early detection of CVD is essential: in many patients, CVD is diagnosed late. When the diagnosis is made, serious and irreversible damage has often already occurred due to prolonged disease progression or acute events such as myocardial infarction, decompensated heart failure, or stroke. The RED-CVD study is built upon the idea that proactive screening can uncover CVD at an earlier stage, especially in populations at increased risk of developing CVD. Early detection allows for timely initiation of the appropriate treatment, which may ultimately prevent disease progression and improve quality of life.

In order to improve early detection of CVD, the RED-CVD researchers developed a novel ‘’early diagnosis strategy’’, aimed at three types of CVD: atrial fibrillation (AF), heart failure (HF), and coronary artery disease (CAD). The strategy consists of three steps. The first step is a patient questionnaire about symptoms of AF, HF, and CAD, which was developed using data from the Lifelines Cohort Study. If the questionnaire indicates that CVD may be present, patients will undergo further screening ,which includes physical examination, electrocardiography (ECG), and biomarker measurement. Patients in whom the test results are indicative of CVD will be treated accordingly or referred to a cardiologist for further examinations.

The early diagnosis strategy is currently being tested in a cluster-randomised trial in general practices across the Netherlands. A total of 1300 patients with diabetes or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) from approximately 40 practices will participate in the study. Patients from practices in the intervention group will undergo the early diagnosis strategy, while patients from control practices will receive care as usual. After a follow-up duration of one year, the numbers of newly detected AF, HF, and CAD will be compared between the intervention and control groups, in order to assess if the early diagnosis strategy is indeed effective at improving early detection.

Consortium members


prof. dr. R.A. (Rudolf) de Boer, cardiologist

prof. dr. M. (Michiel) Rienstra, cardiologist

drs. V.W. (Victor) Zwartkruis, research physician/PhD student


Julius Center/UMC Utrecht:

prof. dr. F.H. (Frans) Rutten, general practicioner

prof. dr. Y.T. (Yvonne) van der Schouw, epidemiologist

dr. M. (Monika) Hollander, general practicioner

drs. A. (Amy) Groenewegen, general practicioner in training/PhD student


UMC Utrecht:

prof. dr. A.W. (Arno) Hoes, clinical epidemiologist

dr. M.J. (Maarten-Jan) Cramer, cardiologist


University of Twente:

dr. ir. H. (Erik) Koffijberg, associate professor Health Technology Assessment

People involved

Principal investigator

Michiel Rienstra


Victor Zwartkruis


External links