Comparison of Five Major Guidelines for Statin Use in Primary Prevention in a Contemporary General Population

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Five major organizations recently published guidelines for using statins to prevent atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD): in 2013, the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association (ACC/AHA); in 2014, the United Kingdom's National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE); and in 2016, the Canadian Cardiovascular Society (CCS), the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), and the European Society of Cardiology/European Atherosclerosis Society (ESC/EAS).


To compare the utility of these guidelines for primary prevention of ASCVD.


Observational study of actual ASCVD events during 10 years, followed by a modeling study to estimate the effectiveness of different guidelines.


The Copenhagen General Population Study.


45 750 Danish persons aged 40 to 75 years who did not use statins and did not have ASCVD at baseline.


The number of participants eligible to use statins according to each guideline and the estimated number of ASCVD events that statins could have prevented.


The percentage of participants eligible for statins was 44% by the CCS guideline, 42% by ACC/AHA, 40% by NICE, 31% by USPSTF, and 15% by ESC/EAS. The estimated percentage of ASCVD events that could have been prevented by using statins for 10 years was 34% for CCS, 34% for ACC/AHA, 32% for NICE, 27% for USPSTF, and 13% for ESC/EAS.


This study was limited to primary prevention in white Europeans.


Guidelines recommending that more persons use statins for primary prevention of ASCVD should prevent more events than guidelines recommending use by fewer persons.

Primary Funding Source:

Copenhagen University Hospital.

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