We compared the 2013 American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association (ACC/AHA) and the 2016 European Society of Cardiology/European Atherosclerosis Society (ESC/EAS) guidelines on prevention of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) using different risk prediction models [US Pooled Cohort Equations (US-PCE for any ASCVD) and European Systematic COronary Risk Evaluation system (European-SCORE for fatal ASCVD)] and different statin eligibility criteria.
We examined 44 889 individuals aged 40–75 recruited in 2003–09 in the Copenhagen General Population Study, all free of ASCVD, diabetes, and statin use at baseline. We detected 2217 any ASCVD events and 199 fatal ASCVD events through 2014. The predicted-to-observed event ratio was 1.2 using US-PCE for any ASCVD and 5.0 using European-SCORE for fatal ASCVD. The US-PCE, but not the European-SCORE, was well-calibrated around decision thresholds for statin therapy. For a Class I recommendation, 42% of individuals qualified for statins using the ACC/AHA guidelines vs. 6% with the ESC/EAS guidelines. Using ACC/AHA- vs. ESC/EAS-defined statin eligibility led to a substantial gain in sensitivity (+62% for any ASCVD and +76% for fatal ASCVD) with a smaller loss in specificity (−35% for any ASCVD and −36% for fatal ASCVD). Similar differences between the ACC/AHA and ESC/EAS guidelines were found for men and women separately, and for Class IIa recommendations. The sensitivity and specificity of a US-PCE risk of 5% were similar to those of a European-SCORE risk of 1.4%, whereas a US-PCE risk of 7.5% was similar to a European-SCORE risk of 2.4%.