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cardiovascular disease, cardiovascular risk factors, incarceration, integrative review hypertension, prisoners



  1. Arries, Ebin J. PhD, RN,
  2. Maposa, Sithokozile PhD, RN


Background and Aim: Incarceration is characterized by inequalities in disease burden and an increased risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD). The aim of this review was to critique published empirical research studies on cardiovascular risk factors among prisoners and to summarize and synthesize current knowledge and findings across these studies.


Design and review method: An integrative review of the studies was conducted. Cooper's five stage method was used as a framework to guide data collection, analysis, and synthesis. Quality appraisal of retrieved studies was done using a combined evaluation tool for quantitative research studies and a checklist. The following databases were searched: CINAHL, MEDLINE, PubMed, Cochrane, Indigenous Studies Portal (iPortal), Native Health Database, Criminal Justice Abstracts, and PsychInfo using keywords. Inclusion criteria were used to select published papers.


Results and Conclusion: A total of 12 studies that met the inclusion criteria were identified and analyzed. Hypertension, among other CVD risk factors such as smoking, physical inactivity and obesity, was one of the three most common CVD risk factors found in prisoners. Women and young offenders had a higher prevalence of hypercholesterolemia. Identifying prevalent risks factors among prisoners might influence the development of CVD prevention strategies that are specifically directed to at risk prisoners.