Pathways Forward in Cardiovascular Disease Prevention One and a Half Years After Publication of the 2013 ACC/AHA Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Guidelines
The 2013 American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association cardiovascular disease prevention guidelines represent an important step forward in the risk assessment and management of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease in clinical practice. Differentiated risk prediction equations for women and black individuals were developed, and convenient 10-year and lifetime risk assessment tools were provided, facilitating their implementation. Lifestyle modification was portrayed as the foundation of preventive therapy. In addition, based on high-quality evidence from randomized controlled trials, statins were prioritized as the first lipid-lowering pharmacologic treatment, and a shared decision-making model between the physician and the patient was emphasized as a key feature of personalized care. After publication of the guidelines, however, important limitations were also identified. This resulted in a constructive scientific debate yielding valuable insights into potential opportunities to refine recommendations, fill gaps in guidance, and better harmonize recommendations within and outside the United States. The latter point deserves emphasis because when guidelines are in disagreement, this may result in nonaction on the part of professional caregivers or nonadherence by patients. In this review, we discuss the key scientific literature relevant to the guidelines published in the year and a half after their release. We aim to provide cohesive, evidence-based views that may offer pathways forward in cardiovascular disease prevention toward greater consensus and benefit the practice of clinical medicine.