Epidemiological studies of CHD and the evolution of preventive cardiology

Nat Rev Cardiol. 2014 May;11(5):276-89. doi: 10.1038/nrcardio.2014.26. Epub 2014 Mar 25.


Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) cause nearly one-third of all deaths worldwide. Coronary heart disease (CHD) accounts for the greatest proportion of CVDs, and risk factors such as hypertension, cigarette smoking, diabetes mellitus or elevated glucose level, elevated cholesterol levels, and obesity or being overweight are the top six causes of death globally. Ecological and population-based longitudinal studies, conducted globally or within individual countries, have established the role of traditional and novel risk factors and measures of subclinical disease in the prediction of CHD. Risk assessment with short-term or long-term risk prediction algorithms can help to identify individuals who would benefit most from risk-factor interventions. Evaluation of novel risk factors and screening for subclinical atherosclerosis can also help to identify individuals at highest cardiovascular risk. Prevention of CHD focuses on identifying and managing risk factors at both the population and individual levels through primordial, primary, and secondary prevention. Epidemiological studies have provided the hypotheses for subsequent clinical trials that have documented the efficacy of risk-factor interventions, which are the basis of preventive cardiology. Future research efforts will determine the screening and intervention strategies that have the greatest effect on CHD prevention.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cardiology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Coronary Disease / diagnosis
  • Coronary Disease / epidemiology*
  • Coronary Disease / etiology
  • Coronary Disease / prevention & control
  • Diabetes Complications / epidemiology
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Global Health
  • Humans
  • Hypercholesterolemia / complications
  • Hypertension / complications
  • Incidence
  • Obesity / complications
  • Overweight / complications
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Distribution
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Survival Rate