Primary Prevention With Statins in the Elderly

J Am Coll Cardiol. 2018 Jan 2;71(1):85-94. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2017.10.080.


The burden of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) in high-income countries is mostly borne by the elderly. With increasing life expectancy, clear guidance on sensible use of statin therapy to prevent a first and potentially devastating ASCVD event is critically important to ensure a healthy aging population. Since 2013, 5 major North American and European guidelines on statin use in primary prevention of ASCVD have been released by the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association, the UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, the Canadian Cardiovascular Society, U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, and the European Society of Cardiology/European Atherosclerosis Society. Guidance on using statin therapy in primary ASCVD prevention in the growing elderly population (>65 years of age) differs markedly. The authors discuss the discrepant recommendations, place them into the context of available evidence, and identify circumstances in which uncertainty may hamper the appropriate use of statins in the elderly.

Keywords: ACC; AHA; ESC; atherosclerosis; cardiovascular disease; guideline.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Atherosclerosis / prevention & control*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Global Health*
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic*
  • Primary Prevention / methods
  • Risk Adjustment / methods


  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors