317. Guidelines: 2021 ESC Cardiovascular Prevention – Question #30 with Dr. Eugenia Gianos

The following question refers to Section 6.1 of the 2021 ESC CV Prevention Guidelines. The question is asked by MGH internal medicine resident Dr. Christian Faaborg-Andersen, answered first by UCSD early career preventive cardiologist Dr. Harpreet Bhatia, and then by expert faculty Dr. Eugenia Gianos.

Dr. Gianos specializes in preventive cardiology, lipidology, cardiovascular imaging, and women’s heart disease; she is the Director of Women’s Heart Health at Lenox Hill Hospital and Director of Cardiovascular Prevention for Northwell Health.

The CardioNerds Decipher The Guidelines Series for the 2021 ESC CV Prevention Guidelines represents a collaboration with the ACC Prevention of CVD Section, the National Lipid Association, and Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association.

Enjoy this Circulation 2022 Paths to Discovery article to learn about the CardioNerds story, mission, and values.

A 65-year-old woman with a history of hypertension, type 2 diabetes mellitus, and coronary artery disease with remote PCI to the RCA presents for follow-up. She has stable angina symptoms that are well controlled with metoprolol tartrate 25 mg BID and are not lifestyle limiting. She takes aspirin 81 mg daily and atorvastatin 40 mg daily. Her LDL-C is 70 mg/dL, hemoglobin A1c is 7.0%, and eGFR is >60. In clinic, her BP is 118/80 mmHg. What is the next step in management?


Increase atorvastatin for goal LDL-C < 55 mg/dL


No change in management


Add isosorbide mononitrate 30 mg daily


Stop aspirin


Start a sulfonylurea



The correct answer is A – increase atorvastatin for goal LDL-C < 55 mg/dL.

In patients with established ASCVD, the ESC guidelines advocate for an LDL goal of < 55 mg/dL with at least a 50% reduction from baseline levels (Class I, LOE A). This patient has stable angina which is not lifestyle limiting; as such, further anti-anginal therapy is not necessary. She has known CAD with prior PCI, so aspirin therapy is appropriate for secondary prevention (Class I, LOE A). There is no indication for a sulfonylurea as her diabetes is well controlled. Notably, in persons with type 2 DM and ASCVD, the use of a GLP-1RA or SGLT2 inhibitor with proven outcome benefits is recommended to reduce CV and/or cardiorenal outcomes (Class I, LOE A).

Main Takeaway

For people with established ASCVD, the ESC-recommended LDL-C goal is < 55 mg/dL with a goal reduction of at least 50%.

Guideline Loc.

Section 6.1

317. Guidelines: 2021 ESC Cardiovascular Prevention – Question #30 with Dr. Eugenia Gianos
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