How are risk factors for coronary artery disease (AD) stratified?

Updated: Mar 30, 2020
  • Author: F Brian Boudi, MD, FACP; Chief Editor: Yasmine S Ali, MD, MSCI, FACC, FACP  more...
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Risk factors for coronary artery disease (CAD) were not formally established until the initial findings of the Framingham Heart Study in the early 1960s. The understanding of such factors is critical to the prevention of cardiovascular morbidities and mortality.

Many risk factors are modifiable and account for the majority of the population's attributable risk for myocardial infarction (MI). Cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk stratification determines if traditional risk factors (hypertension, tobacco use, diabetes mellitus, premature family history of CVD, chronic kidney disease, obesity) for CVD is present; looks at the baseline lipid profile; and estimates CVD risk using a validated CVD risk calculator such as the American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology (AHA/ACC) atherosclerotic CVD (ASCVD) risk calculator [1] : The AHA/ACC and US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) use the above as their recommendations for current risk stratification. The expanding risk factors are included in this review following but are by no means exhaustive of all the current attributing factors.  

See the image below.

Risk factors for coronary artery disease. Traditio Risk factors for coronary artery disease. Traditional versus nontraditional risk factors for coronary artery disease (CAD). The expanding list of nontraditional biomarkers is outweighed by the standard risk factors for predicting future cardiovascular events and adds only moderately to standard risk factors. BNP = B-type natriuretic peptide; BP = blood pressure; CRP = C-reactive protein; HDL = high-density lipoprotein cholesterol; HIV = human immunodeficiency virus infection.

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