326. Guidelines: 2021 ESC Cardiovascular Prevention – Question #32 with Dr. Michael Wesley Milks

The following question refers to Section 3.4 of the 2021 ESC CV Prevention Guidelines. The question is asked by student Dr. Adriana Mares, answered first by early career preventive cardiologist Dr. Dipika Gopal, and then by expert faculty Dr. Michael Wesley Milks.

Dr. Milks is a staff cardiologist and assistant professor of clinical medicine at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, where he serves as the Director of Cardiac Rehabilitation and an associate program director of the cardiovascular fellowship. He specializes in preventive cardiology and is a member of the American College of Cardiology’s Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Leadership Council.

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.

Mr. Daniel Collins is a 58-year-old man with hypertension, chronic kidney disease (CKD), and obesity who presents to your clinic for a routine physical examination. Vitals are as follows: BP 143/79 mmHg, HR 89 bpm, O2 99% on room air, weight 106 kg, BMI 34.5 kg/m2. Recent laboratory testing revealed: creatinine 1.24 mg/dL, total cholesterol 203 mg/dL, HDL 39 mg/dL, LDL 112 mg/dL, TG 262 mg/dL. His current medications include lisinopril and rosuvastatin. You recommend increasing the dose of lisinopril to treat uncontrolled hypertension. What additional step(s) are indicated at this visit?


Order urine albumin-to-creatinine ratio


Ask the patient how often they have been bothered by trouble falling or staying asleep, or sleeping too much


Perform depression screening


All of the above



The correct answer is D – all of the above.

Answer A is correct. The ESC gives a Class I (LOE C) indication that all CKD patients, with or without diabetes, should undergo appropriate screening for ASCVD and kidney disease progression, including monitoring for changes in albuminuria. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of morbidity and death among patients with CKD. Even after adjusting for risk factors, including diabetes and hypertension, there is a linear increase in CV mortality with decreasing GFR below ~60-75 mm/min/1.73m2. Specific CKD-related risk factors include uremia-mediated inflammation, oxidative stress, and vascular calcification.

Answer choice B is also correct. In patients with ASCVD, obesity, and hypertension, the ESC gives a Class I (LOE C) indication to regularly screen for non-restorative sleep by asking the question related to sleep quality as follows: “‘How often have you been bothered by trouble falling or staying asleep or sleeping too much?”. Additionally, if there are significant sleep problems that are not responding within four weeks to improving sleep hygiene, referral to a specialist is recommended (Class I, LOE C). However, despite the strong association of OSA with CVD, including hypertension, stroke, heart failure, CAD, and atrial fibrillation, treatment of OSA with CPAP has failed to improve hard CVD outcomes in patients with established CVD. Interventions that focus on risk factor modification, including reduction of obesity, alcohol intake, stress, and improvement of sleep hygiene, are important.

Answer choice C is also correct. The ESC gives a Class I (LOE C) recommendation that mental health disorders with either significant functional impairment or decreased use of healthcare systems be considered as influencing total CVD risk. All mental disorders are associated with the development of CVD and reduced life expectancy. Additionally, the onset of CVD is associated with an approximately 2-3x increased risk of mental health disorders compared to a healthy population. As such, screening for mental health disorders should be performed at every consultation (2-4x/year).

Main Takeaway

In addition to traditional ASCVD risk factors, other clinical conditions, including sleep apnea, CKD, and mental health conditions, are important to screen for and treat if present.

Guideline Loc.

Sections 3.4.1, 3.4.9, 3.4.10

326. Guidelines: 2021 ESC Cardiovascular Prevention – Question #32 with Dr. Michael Wesley Milks
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