Upon completion of our 5th Annual symposium, “Where Inflammation Meets Lipids”, I believe it is an opportune time for a comment regarding our thoughts on the ACC/AHA National Cholesterol Guidelines. At this symposium we had a lively and detailed discussion/debate on the new guidelines and we are grateful to all that participated.
We at Cleveland HeartLab support the direction that the writing committee took with the ACC/AHA guidelines. As discussed by many during the symposium the guidelines are just that, guidelines and should not come between caring and committed physicians and their patients’ care. We believe that the current guidelines open the strategies that physicians can use to define patients at risk, including imaging and blood-based biomarkers to identify patients at risk. Furthermore, instead of simply encouraging physicians to target a specific level of cholesterol the guidelines recommend a specific dose of cholesterol lowering therapy and leave to the physicians discretion whether further treatment is necessary in a given patient. We agree with this change in the guidelines and believe that the growing understanding of the physiology represented by inflammatory biomarkers such as those we offer makes them an excellent tool for physicians to determine those patients whose risk they have successfully mitigated and those patients in whom they have not.
We will be happy to discuss the changes in the guidelines at your convenience and look forward to working with you to implement new and novel risk stratification strategies in your practice.
Marc S. Penn, MD, PhD, FACC
Co-Founder and Chief Medical Officer