New cholesterol guidelines push personalized care
Leading heart experts released new cholesterol management guidelines Saturday that call on doctors to tailor treatment to more personalized risk assessments of each patient and recommend the use of two new kinds of drugs for those at the greatest danger of disease.
The recommendations build on guidelines issued in 2013 that fundamentally altered the way health care providers determine a patient’s risk of heart attack and cardiovascular disease. In that watershed document, the experts told doctors to stop trying to lower patients’ cholesterol numbers to specific targets and instead follow an overall matrix that tries to predict their future risk of problems.
The new guidelines give clinicians a better idea of how to do that via treatment categories that vary depending on cholesterol scores and, if necessary, other tests. The 121-page document was unveiled Saturday at the American Heart Association’s 2018 Scientific Sessions in Chicago and published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology and the heart association’s journal, Circulation.
“We essentially are endorsing and expanding the scope of the risk discussion,” said Neil Stone, vice-chairman of the committee that wrote the guidelines and a cardiology professor at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine.
For example, the guidelines recommend “highintensity” therapy with statins for people under the age of 75 who are determined to have atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, with the goal of reducing their LDL, or “bad,” cholesterol by 50 percent.