The ESC recently classified European countries into 4 cardiovascular risk regions. However, whether Europeans from higher-risk countries living in lower-risk regions may benefit from intensive cardiovascular prevention efforts, is unknown. We described the burden of risk factors and cardiovascular disease (CVD) among European-born immigrants living in Catalonia, a low-risk region.

Material and methods:
Retrospective cohort study of 5.6 million adults of European origin living in Catalonia in 2019, including 282,789 European-born immigrants. We used the regionwide healthcare database and classified participants into 5 groups: low-, moderate-, high-, and very high-risk, and local-born. Age-standardized prevalence was estimated as of December 31st, 2019 and incidence was computed during 2019 among at-risk individuals.

The very high-risk was the largest immigrant group (N=136,910; 48.4%), while the high-risk group was the smallest (N=15,739; 5.6%). These two had the highest burden of coronary heart disease across all groups evaluated, in both men and women. The very high-risk group also had the highest prevalence of hypertension and obesity at young-to-middle age, and the burden of risk factors newly diagnosed during 2019 was highest in high- and very high-risk participants. The mean age at first diagnosis of risk factors and CVD was lower in these groups.

In Catalonia, residents born in high- and very-high-risk European countries are at increased risk of coronary heart disease and newly diagnosed risk factors. Low-risk European countries may consider tailored prevention efforts, early screening of risk factors, and adequate healthcare resource planning to better address the health needs of men and women from higher-risk countries.