The potential impact of the 2016 United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) guidelines on statins for primary prevention of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) warrants further analysis.


We studied participants from MESA (Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis) aged 40 to 75 years and not on statins. We compared statin eligibility at baseline (2000-2002) and over follow-up between USPSTF and the 2013 American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association (ACC/AHA) guidelines. Coronary artery calcium (CAC) was measured at baseline. Absolute ASCVD event rates were calculated according to eligibility categories for each guideline. Among 4962 MESA participants (aged 59.3±8.8 years, 47.2% female), compared with ACC/AHA guidelines, baseline statin eligibility by USPSTF was significantly lower (34.4% versus 49.1%) and increased less over time (39.1% versus 59.1%) at examination 5 [years 2010-2012]). Compared with ACC/AHA, participants eligible by USPSTF were less likely to have zero CAC at baseline (36.6% versus 41.2%) and had higher rates of hard ASCVD events per 1000 person-years (11.6 [95% confidence interval, 10.2-13.3] versus 10.0 [8.9-11.3]). The hard ASCVD event rate in those eligible by ACC/AHA but not USPSTF was 6.5 (4.9-8.5) events per 1000 person-years, with the rate varying significantly according to baseline CAC (4.2 [2.7-6.7] events in those with CAC=0, 12.8 [8.3-19.9] events in those with CAC >100).


In MESA, compared with ACC/AHA, the USPSTF statin guidelines resulted in a 15% absolute decrease in eligibility. Participants with discordant eligibility had ASCVD rates that varied significantly according to baseline CAC, suggesting CAC could aid clinical decision making for statins in these individuals.

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© 2018 The Authors. Published on behalf of the American Heart Association, Inc., by Wiley. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.

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