media release

Quality of care factors in heart health – study

August 27, 2014

Scott Lear, 778.782.7916; 604.682.2344, ext 62778;
Marianne Meadahl, PAMR, 778.782.3210;

An international team of scientists, including Simon Fraser University health sciences professor Scott Lear, has found that quality of health care people receive may be as important as controlling risk factors that could lead to cardiovascular disease in the bid to keep hearts healthy.

Lear co-authored a paper, published today in the New England Journal of Medicine, on a study that tracked more than 156,000 people in 17 countries around the world. Leading The Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiologic (PURE) study were researchers at McMaster University and Hamilton Health Sciences.

Researchers found that low-income countries, where people with the lowest risk factors for cardiovascular problems, have the highest rates of cardiovascular events and death. Meanwhile high-income countries, where people with the highest risk factors for heart conditions, have a lower rate of severe heart problems and deaths.

“We have found that health care is as important, if not more important, than avoiding the risk factors, like smoking, bad diet and low exercise, in reducing cardiovascular disease,” says Lear, who is also the Pfizer/Heart and Stroke Foundation Chair in Cardiovascular Prevention Research at St. Paul’s Hospital.

“While rich countries need to keep avoiding high risk factors and delivering high quality health care, poor countries need to also reduce the risk of factors while working to improve the quality of their health care.”

Participants were from both urban and rural areas of four low-income countries: Bangladesh, India, Pakistan or Zimbabwe; 10 middle-income countries: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, Iran, Malaysia, Poland, South Africa and Turkey; and three high-income countries of Canada, Sweden and the United Arab Emirates.

Simon Fraser University is consistently ranked among Canada's top comprehensive universities and is one of the top 50 universities in the world under 50 years old. With campuses in Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey, B.C., SFU engages actively with the community in its research and teaching, delivers almost 150 programs to more than 30,000 students, and has more than 130,000 alumni in 130 countries.


Simon Fraser University: Engaging Students. Engaging Research. Engaging Communities.

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