Although South Asian populations have high cardiovascular disease (CVD) burden in the world, their patterns of individual CVD risk factors have not been fully studied. None of the available algorithms/scores to assess CVD risk have originated from these populations. To explore the relevance of CVD risk scores for these populations, literature search and qualitative synthesis of available evidence were performed. South Asians usually have higher levels of both "classical" and nontraditional CVD risk factors and experience these at a younger age. There are marked variations in risk profiles between South Asian populations. More than 100 risk algorithms are currently available, with varying risk factors. However, no available algorithm has included all important risk factors that underlie CVD in these populations. The future challenge is either to appropriately calibrate current risk algorithms or ideally to develop new risk algorithms that include variables that provide an accurate estimate of CVD risk.