Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)


March 01, 2012

In This Article

Benefits and Harms


ACCF/AHA (2010). Appropriate and effective assessment of cardiovascular risk in asymptomatic adults

NACB (2009)

  • Appropriate utilization of emerging biochemical markers in primary prevention of cardiovascular disease and stroke

  • Identification of more people who are asymptomatic and clinically apparently free of coronary heart disease, but at sufficiently high risk for a future coronary event in order to justify more intensive risk reduction efforts

USPSTF (2009

Benefits of Screening and Additional Risk Assessment

The evidence is insufficient to determine the magnitude of any reduction in CHD events and CHD-related deaths obtained by using nontraditional risk factors in CHD screening. This constitutes a critical gap in the evidence for benefit from screening.


ACCF/AHA (2010). No harms associated with screening using the nontraditional risk factors discussed in the guideline are provided.

NACB (2009). Not stated.

USPSTF (2009)

Harms of Screening and Additional Risk Assessment

Little evidence is available to determine the harms of using nontraditional risk factors in CHD screening. Harms include lifelong use of medications without proof of benefit but with expense and potential side effects. Statins are the class of medication most commonly used; these medications have been demonstrated to be safe but are associated with the rare but serious side effect of rhabdomyolysis. Psychological and other harms may result from being put into a higher risk category for CHD events.


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