Secondary prevention strategies for coronary heart disease
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- Weiner, S.D. & Rabbani, L.E. J Thromb Thrombolysis (2010) 29: 8. doi:10.1007/s11239-009-0381-8
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Patients with established coronary heart disease (CHD) have a high risk of subsequent cardiovascular events, including myocardial infarction (MI), stroke, and death from cardiovascular disease. Adherence to evidence-based secondary prevention therapies for CHD has improved in recent years but still remains suboptimal. Mortality from CHD in the United States (US) has decreased substantially in recent decades. The decline in US deaths from CHD from 1980 through 2000 has been attributed to reductions in major risk factors and utilization of evidence-based medical therapies. It has been estimated that optimization of secondary prevention strategies could save as many as 80,000 more lives per year in the US. The American College of Cardiology (ACC) and American Heart Association (AHA) updated its guidelines for secondary prevention for patients with atherosclerotic vascular disease in 2006. The guidelines emphasize evidence-based developments in the field of CHD secondary prevention and also reinforce the need to implement these recommendations in actual clinical practice through programs such as the ACC’s Guidelines Applied to Practice and the AHA’s Get With The Guidelines. This review will discuss the epidemiology and risk assessment of CHD, current pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic strategies available for the secondary prevention of CHD, and summarize the guidelines and evidence that support these treatment options. There will be an emphasis on antiplatelet therapy given the important role of thrombosis in clinical cardiovascular events.