What are the AHA/ACC guidelines on coronary artery atherosclerosis screening?

Updated: Apr 09, 2021
  • Author: Sandy N Shah, DO, MBA, FACC, FACP, FACOI; Chief Editor: Yasmine S Ali, MD, MSCI, FACC, FACP  more...
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Guidelines on screening for cardiovascular risk, released in late 2013 by the American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology (AHA/ACC), recommend use of a revised calculator for estimating the 10-year risk of developing a first atherosclerotic CVD event, which is defined as nonfatal myocardial infarction, death from coronary heart disease, or stroke (fatal or nonfatal) in a person who was initially free from atherosclerotic CVD. [21] The calculator uses a combination of clinical and laboratory risk factors to estimate risk.

For patients 20-79 years of age who do not have existing clinical atherosclerotic CVD, the guidelines recommend assessing clinical risk factors every 4-6 years. For patients with low 10-year risk (< 7.5%), the guidelines recommend assessing 30-year or lifetime risk in patients 20-59 years old.

Regardless of the patient’s age, clinicians should communicate risk data to the patient and refer to the AHA/ACC lifestyle guidelines, which cover diet and physical activity. For patients with elevated 10-year risk, clinicians should communicate risk data and refer to the AHA/ACC guidelines on blood cholesterol and obesity.

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