European Lipid Guidelines and Cardiovascular Risk Estimation: Current Status and Future Challenges

Pirillo A., Tokgözoğlu L., Catapano A. L.

Current Atherosclerosis Reports, 2024 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Review
  • Publication Date: 2024
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s11883-024-01194-7
  • Journal Name: Current Atherosclerosis Reports
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, CAB Abstracts, EMBASE, MEDLINE
  • Keywords: Cardiovascular risk, CV risk estimation, European guidelines, LDL-C burden, SCORE
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


Purpose of Review: Genetic, experimental, epidemiologic, and clinical data support the causal role of elevated levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) in atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease (CVD). The recommendations of the 2019 European guidelines are based on the concept of differential CV risk, which in turn defines the LDL-C goals that should be achieved. Recent Findings: The 2019 ESC/EAS guidelines for dyslipidaemia use the Systematic COronary Risk Evaluation (SCORE) model to assess CV risk, which provides a 10-year risk of fatal CV event. The SCORE model has recently been updated to reflect current rates of cardiovascular disease in Europe. The new SCORE2 model provides estimates of the 10-year risk of fatal and non-fatal CVD events in people aged 40–69 years, thus improving the identification of individuals at higher risk of a CVD event. However, as in the SCORE age is the main determinant of risk, young people have a relatively low estimated 10-year risk of a CV event even with high levels of one or more causal risk factors. Individuals with familial hypercholesterolaemia, who have elevated LDL-C levels from birth and have a high risk of premature CVD, are one example. The concept of cumulative LDL exposure is thus becoming increasingly important. This is also supported by Mendelian randomisation studies showing that carrying genetic variants associated with lower LDL-C levels reduces CV risk. Summary: These observations have introduced the concept of “cholesterol-years”, which takes into account both LDL-C levels and time of exposure. It is crucial that future European guidelines pay more attention to this point.