The 2019 vs. 2016 European Society of Cardiology/European Atherosclerosis Society (ESC/EAS) dyslipidaemia guidelines contains new recommendations for primary prevention with statins; however, the potential impact of these changes is unclear. We compared the 2019 and 2016 guidelines regarding statin eligibility and potential impact on prevention of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) in the general population.
We examined 45 750 individuals aged 40-75 from the Copenhagen General Population Study, all free of ASCVD and statin use at baseline. During the 9.2-year follow-up, 3337 experienced ASCVD (myocardial infarction, stroke, and cardiovascular death). For Class I/A recommendations, 32.3% (95% confidence interval: 31.8-32.7) and 15.4% (15.1-15.7) of individuals were statin eligible according to the 2019 and 2016 guidelines. The increased statin eligibility by the 2019 guidelines was explained by lower low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) thresholds alone (explaining 33.2%), older age range alone (49.4%), older age range in combination with lower LDL-C thresholds (14.7%), and updated SCORE risk algorithm (2.8%). If fully implemented, the estimated percentage of ASCVD events that can be prevented by using high-intensity statins for 10 years were 25% and 11% with the 2019 and 2016 guidelines. Mainly because of older age range in the 2019 guidelines, the corresponding estimated numbers needed to treat (NNT) to prevent one ASCVD event were 19 and 20.
Due to lower LDL-C threshold and older age range, the 2019 vs. 2016 ESC/EAS guidelines doubles the number of individuals eligible for primary prevention with statins. This considerably improves the potential for ASCVD prevention in the general population, with similar NNT to prevent one event.

Published on behalf of the European Society of Cardiology. All rights reserved. © The Author(s) 2020. For permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com.

References

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