Identification of Cardiovascular Risk: Use of a Cardiovascular-Specific Genogram

Authors

  • Frances B Wimbush Ph.D., R.N.,

    1. Frances B. Wimbush is an Assistant Professor and Program Director, Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Program, Wayne State University, College of Nursing, Detroit, Michigan. Rosalind M. Peters is an Assistant Professor, Medical College of Ohio, School of Nursing, Toledo, Ohio.
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  • Rosalind M Peters M.S.N., R.N.

    1. Frances B. Wimbush is an Assistant Professor and Program Director, Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Program, Wayne State University, College of Nursing, Detroit, Michigan. Rosalind M. Peters is an Assistant Professor, Medical College of Ohio, School of Nursing, Toledo, Ohio.
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Address correspondence to Frances B. Wimbush, Wayne State University, College of Nursing, 370 Cohn Building, 5557 Cass Avenue, Detroit, MI 48202. E-mail: fwimbush@atlas.nursing.wayne.edu

Abstract

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) affects nearly 50 million Americans of all ages, races, and educational levels. Many of the risk factors for CVD are modifiable and public health nurses (PHNs) are in unique position to impact this major health problem because of their access to individuals, families, and groups. Addressing this major health problem requires early identification of those at risk for CVD. This article describes the implementation of a cardiovascular-specific genogram (CVSG) which can be used to identify persons at risk for CVD. Rationale for the development of this disease-specific tool and suggestions for its clinical application are discussed. The genogram was distributed to the parents of 100 6th grade students. All of the respondents reported cardiovascular risk factors present in at least one of three generations examined. The risk factors in the two younger generations were at the primary and secondary levels of prevention and were modifiable with intervention. Only the older generation in this sample had tertiary level risk factors. The CVSG can easily be incorporated into all aspects of public health nursing practice, from assessment for case finding to planning and implementing disease management strategies. The CVSG can identify individuals, families, and groups at risk for CVD allowing the nurse to focus attention on those most at risk, and to implement proactive assessment, screening, and educational programs.

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