BACKGROUNDThis study aimed to describe and to analyse the importance of educational level for controlled risk factors and health-related quality of life (HRQoL).METHODSThis observational study was conducted in nine European countries (5632 patients in 249 practices). We compared patients with a low level of education (up to 9 years) with patients with a high level of education (>9 years), with regard to controlled cardiovascular disease risk factors and HRQoL. A multilevel approach was used for statistical analysis.RESULTSPatients with a low level of education were older (P < 0.001), more often female (P < 0.001), more often single (P < 0.001) and had a higher number of other conditions (e.g. heart failure) (P < 0.001). Significant differences in terms of controlled risk factors were revealed for blood pressure (RR) ≤ 140/90 mmHg (P = 0.039) and the sum of controlled risk factors (P = 0.027). Higher age, lower education, female gender, living as single, patient group (coronary heart disease patients) and the number of other conditions were negatively associated with HRQoL. A higher sum of controlled risk factors were positively associated with higher HRQoL in the whole sample (r = 0.0086, P < 0.001) as well as in both educational-level groups (r = 0.0075, P = 0.038 in the low-level group and r = 0.0082, P = 0.001 in the high-level group).CONCLUSIONPatients with a lower educational level were more often females, singles, had a higher number of other conditions, a higher number of uncontrolled risk factors and a lower HRQoL. However, the higher the control of risk factors was, the higher the HRQoL was overall as well as in both educational-level groups.