The American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association (ACC/AHA) Task Force on Practice Guidelines has recently released the new cholesterol treatment guideline. This update was based on a systematic review of the evidence and replaces the previous guidelines from 2002 that were widely accepted and implemented in clinical practice. The new cholesterol treatment guideline emphasizes matching the intensity of statin treatment to the level of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) risk and replaces the old paradigm of pursuing low-density lipoprotein cholesterol targets. The new guideline also emphasizes the primacy of the evidence base for statin therapy for ASCVD risk reduction and lists several patient groups that will not benefit from statin treatment despite their high cardiovascular risk, such as those with heart failure (New York Heart Association class II-IV) and patients undergoing hemodialysis. The guideline has been received with mixed reviews and significant controversy. Because of the evidence-based nature of the guideline, there is room for several questions and uncertainties on when and how to use lipid-lowering therapy in clinical practice. The goal of the Mayo Clinic Task Force in the assessment, interpretation, and expansion of the ACC/AHA cholesterol treatment guideline is to address gaps in information and some of the controversial aspects of the newly released cholesterol management guideline using additional sources of evidence and expert opinion as needed to guide clinicians on key aspects of ASCVD risk reduction.
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