A perspective on the New American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association guidelines for cardiovascular risk assessment

Mayo Clin Proc. 2014 Sep;89(9):1244-56. doi: 10.1016/j.mayocp.2014.06.018. Epub 2014 Aug 12.


The recently published American College of Cardiology (ACC)/American Heart Association (AHA) guidelines for cardiovascular risk assessment provide equations to estimate the 10-year and lifetime atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) risk in African Americans and non-Hispanic whites, include stroke as an adverse cardiovascular outcome, and emphasize shared decision making. The guidelines provide a valuable framework that can be adapted on the basis of clinical judgment and individual/institutional expertise. In this review, we provide a perspective on the new guidelines, highlighting what is new, what is controversial, and potential adaptations. We recommend obtaining family history of ASCVD at the time of estimating ASCVD risk and consideration of imaging to assess subclinical disease burden in patients at intermediate risk. In addition to the adjuncts for ASCVD risk estimation recommended in the guidelines, measures that may be useful in refining risk estimates include carotid ultrasonography, aortic pulse wave velocity, and serum lipoprotein(a) levels. Finally, we stress the need for research efforts to improve assessment of ASCVD risk given the suboptimal performance of available risk algorithms and suggest potential future directions in this regard.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control
  • Decision Making
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic*
  • Racial Groups / statistics & numerical data
  • Risk Assessment / standards
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors


  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors