Many years in the making, the revised guidelines on preventing elevated blood cholesterol depart in significant ways from the last version of the NHLBI's ATP III. Here, the top 3 differences primary care physicians will want to know more about.
The long-awaited revisions to what were once known as the NHLBI’s ATP IV guidelines on management of cholesterol in adults have finally been released and are creating quite a stir! In a major departure from the previous guidelines, the new document has eliminated lipid targets altogether and is instead using a more lenient risk score to meet indication for statin therapy, utilizing new definitions of outcomes, and recommending statins as medications over other lipid lowering medications.
The guidelines1 released by the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association have incorporated 3 major changes: (1) added stroke as a new outcome of interest; (2) replaced cholesterol targets with the risk categories; (3) recommend statins alone as first-line therapy.
In summary, these new much simpler guidelines have shifted the focus from cholesterol targets (“know your number”) to risk categories (“know your risk”) and from all lipid lowering medications to statins alone.