375. Beyond the Boards: Foundations of Cardiovascular Prevention with Dr. Stephen Kopecky

CardioNerds (Amit Goyal and Dan Ambinder), Dr. Jaya Kanduri, and Dr. Jason Feinman discuss foundations of cardiovascular prevention with Dr. Stephen Kopecky. In this episode, the CardioNerds and topic expert Dr. Stephen Kopecky tackle cardiovascular prevention. They focus on how to identify patients at risk for cardiovascular disease by using the pooled cohort equation and discuss how to incorporate additional risk-enhancing factors in risk estimation. Later, they discuss the role of non-invasive imaging and testing for further patient risk stratification. Last, they discuss the appropriate pharmacologic interventions for patient care, how to determine what LDL-c to target for each patient, and how to modify your treatment modalities in response to side effects or the need for further lipid-lowering therapies.

Notes were drafted by Dr. Jason Feinman. Audio was engineered by CardioNerds Intern Christiana Dangas.

The CardioNerds Beyond the Boards Series was inspired by the Mayo Clinic Cardiovascular Board Review Course and designed in collaboration with the course directors Dr. Amy Pollak, Dr. Jeffrey Geske, and Dr. Michael Cullen.

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Pearls and Quotes – Foundations of Cardiovascular Prevention

  1. The 2018 cardiovascular prevention guidelines indicate that a single equation, like the pooled risk equation, does not fit everyone. There are additional risk enhancers that are not factored into the pooled risk equation that can impact an individual’s risk
  2. These factors are often conditions that increase inflammation but can also include family history, ethnicity, chronic kidney disease, metabolic syndrome, premature menopause or gestational diabetes, and rheumatologic conditions
  3. Data from Get With The Guidelines demonstrates that the average LDL at the time of the first myocardial infarction is 105 mg/dL.
  4. Coronary artery calcium scores or a carotid ultrasound can be used to further risk stratify patients. However, CAC is likely to be negative in young women. A CAC of zero can be used to “de-risk” some patients but should not be used to guide therapy in the setting of tobacco usage, diabetes mellitus, or familial hypercholesterolemia.
  5. Strategies to mitigate risk include healthy lifestyle habits and selectively targeting key risk factors including LDL, hypertriglyceridemia, inflammation, and the GLP1-pathway. Upcoming medications may address elevated Lp(a).

Notes – Foundations of Cardiovascular Prevention

Notes: Notes drafted by Dr. Jason Feinman.

How do you assess an individual’s risk for cardiovascular disease?

  • The paramount role of primary prevention is the assessment and mitigation of an individual’s risk for ASCVD event.1
  • The 10-year ASCVD risk calculator is a commonly used tool to assess an individual’s risk and to guide shared decision-making conversations and recommendations.2
  • Individuals can be characterized as having low (less than 5%), borderline (5%-7.5%), intermediate (7.5%-20%), or high (greater than 20%) risk.2
  • The 10-year ASCVD risk calculator has varying validation in ethnic minorities, and other risk calculators, such as the Framingham CVD risk score, may be considered in those groups.3-5
  • Additional risk enhancers may be used to guide recommendations for individuals at borderline or intermediate risk.1

What additional imaging testing may be beneficial in the assessment of an individual’s risk?

  • Individuals with intermediate or borderline risk may benefit from further non-invasive imaging to help guide therapeutic recommendations.2
  • Coronary artery calcification is a marker of underlying atherosclerosis, which can help to reclassify patients to be at higher risk for ASCVD events and support interventions to help lower this risk.6
  • Conversely, a score of zero can help to reclassify individuals into lower-risk groups
  • A score of zero should be used with caution in young women who are more likely to have non-calcified plaque and should not be used as a marker of low risk in individuals with other risk factors, including diabetes mellitus and tobacco usage.1

What non-pharmacological interventions may be considered to lower an individual’s ASCVD risk?

  • The 2019 guidelines give a class I recommendation for a diet of vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains, and fish to lower ASCVD risk factors.1
  • Increased intake of sugar has been demonstrated to correlate with increased rates of type 2 diabetes mellitus and subsequent increased risk for cardiovascular events.7
  • At least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensive is recommended to reduce the risk of ASCVD events.1

What pharmacological interventions can be considered for individuals with prior ASCVD events or at high risk for ASCVD?

  • A moderate-intensity statin is recommended for individuals at intermediate risk of ASCVD events with risk enhancers with a goal reduction in LDL-c of 30% or more.1
  • For individuals at a high 10-year risk for ASCVD events, a 50% reduction in LDL-C is recommended.1
  • A doubling of a statin dose can be predicted to lead to a 6% further reduction in LDL-C
  • Ezetimibe can be considered as adjunct therapy for individuals receiving statin therapy who do not reach their target LDL-C.2

How do you determine the goal LDL-c?

  • LDL goal is based on a history of prior ASCVD events and the risk of future ASCVD events.
  • For secondary prevention, especially for individuals at high risk for ASCVD events, an LDL goal of at least less than 70 mg/dL is recommended2

References – Foundations of Cardiovascular Prevention

  1. Arnett DK, Blumenthal RS, Albert MA, et al. 2019 ACC/AHA Guideline on the Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease: A Report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Clinical Practice Guidelines [published correction appears in Circulation. 2019 Sep 10;140(11):e649-e650] [published correction appears in Circulation. 2020 Jan 28;141(4):e60] [published correction appears in Circulation. 2020 Apr 21;141(16):e774]. Circulation. 2019;140(11):e596-e646. doi:10.1161/CIR.0000000000000678
  2. Grundy SM, Stone NJ, Bailey AL, et al. 2018 AHA/ACC/AACVPR/AAPA/ABC/ACPM/ADA/AGS/APhA/ASPC/NLA/PCNA Guideline on the Management of Blood Cholesterol: A Report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Clinical Practice Guidelines [published correction appears in Circulation. 2019 Jun 18;139(25):e1182-e1186] [published correction appears in Circulation. 2023 Aug 15;148(7):e5]. Circulation. 2019;139(25):e1082-e1143. doi:10.1161/CIR.0000000000000625
  3. Yang X, Li J, Hu D, et al. Predicting the 10-Year Risks of Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease in Chinese Population: The China-PAR Project (Prediction for ASCVD Risk in China). Circulation. 2016;134(19):1430-1440. doi:10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.116.022367
  4. Jung KJ, Jang Y, Oh DJ, et al. The ACC/AHA 2013 pooled cohort equations compared to a Korean Risk Prediction Model for atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. Atherosclerosis. 2015;242(1):367-375. doi:10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2015.07.033
  5. D’Agostino RB Sr, Vasan RS, Pencina MJ, et al. General cardiovascular risk profile for use in primary care: the Framingham Heart Study. Circulation. 2008;117(6):743-753. doi:10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.107.699579
  6. DeFilippis AP, Young R, Carrubba CJ, et al. An analysis of calibration and discrimination among multiple cardiovascular risk scores in a modern multiethnic cohort. Ann Intern Med. 2015;162(4):266-275. doi:10.7326/M14-1281
  7. Löfvenborg JE, Andersson T, Carlsson PO, et al. Sweetened beverage intake and risk of latent autoimmune diabetes in adults (LADA) and type 2 diabetes. Eur J Endocrinol. 2016;175(6):605-614. doi:10.1530/EJE-16-0376
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