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The Impact of the 2019 European Guideline for Cardiovascular Risk Management: A Cross-Sectional Study in General Practice

Meier R, Rachamin Y, Rosemann T, Markun S

J Clin Med. 2020;9(7):2140


The aim of this study was to assess the impact of the 2019 published European Society of Cardiology (ESC)/European Atherosclerosis Society (EAS) guideline on cardiovascular (CV) risk management compared with its predecessor from 2016 in a cohort in general practice.


We performed a cross-sectional retrospective study with data from electronic medical records. The study cohort included 103,351 patients with known CV risk. We assessed changes in CV risk classification and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) target values, the impact on LDL-C achievement rates, and the current lipid-lowering treatments.


Under the 2019 ESC guideline, CV risk categories changed in 27.5% of patients, LDL-C target levels decreased in 71.4% of patients, and LDL-C target achievement rate dropped from 31.1% to 16.5%. Among non-achievers according to the 2019 guideline, 52.2% lacked lipid-lowering drugs entirely, and 41.5% had conventional drugs at a submaximal intensity. Of patients in the high-risk and very high-risk categories, at least 5% failed to achieve the LDL-C target level despite treatment at maximal intensity with conventional lipid-lowering drugs, making them eligible for PCSK-9 inhibitors.


In conclusion, the 2019 ESC/EAS guideline lowered LDL-C target values for the majority of patients in general practice and halved LDL-C target achievement rates. There is still a large undeveloped potential to lower CV risk by introducing conventional lipid-lowering drugs, particularly in patients at high or very high CV risk. A substantial proportion of the patients can only achieve their LDL-C targets using PCSK-9 inhibitors, which would currently require an at least 10-fold increase in prescribing of these drugs.

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