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New campaign focuses on heart health in primary care


American College of Cardiology, biotech companies seeking physicians to test and reduce cholesterol levels in patients.

glowing human heart in hands: © IBEX.Media - stock.adobe.com

© IBEX.Media - stock.adobe.com

Heart health advocates are enlisting primary care physicians in the fight against cardiovascular disease, the world’s leading killer of women and men worldwide.

The American College of Cardiology (ACC), with biotechnology companies Amgen and Esperion Therapeutics, announced the launch of “Driving Urgency in LDL Screening.” The new campaign aims to increase diagnostic low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) screening in patients with and without prior cardiac events and heart disease so clinicians can identify those who need treatment.

“Cardiovascular disease is preventable in many cases, and early identification of risk is essential, especially for people at high risk,” ACC Chief Medical Officer Richard Kovacs, MD, MACC, said in a news release. “Through this program we’re transforming cardiovascular care and improving heart health for all by ensuring clinicians are informed of the latest screening recommendations and that patients have access to the highest quality care.”

ACC said evidence shows that lowering LDL-C levels through lifestyle changes or medications can reduce patient risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD).

The national campaign seeks to reach up to 30,000 primary care physicians, other clinicians, and cardiologists so ACC can assess current levels of LDL screening in primary or secondary ASCVD patients. ACC will test various educational messages among clinicians and track changes in LDL screening and treatment over 12 months.

Participants will have access to supporting resources, such as ACC and the American Heart Association’s guideline on managing blood cholesterol, the 2013 ASCVD Risk Estimator, and the 2022 expert consensus decision pathway on use of nonstatin therapies for lowering LDL cholesterol. The program will be delivered through Clint, the clinical intelligence platform.

“Program participants will be assessed on their adherence to guideline-directed medication therapy for lowering LDK over the course of a year, including repeat testing of LDL levels and the prescription of lipid-lowering medications as indicated and in shared decision-making with patients,” according to ACC plans.

Representatives from the affiliated companies shared statements about participating.

“The current reality is that not enough patients are getting screened for elevated LDL – this is especially alarming for those who have established ASCVD,” Amgen Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer Paul Burton, MD, PhD, said in the news release. “We see health care providers as a critical part of the solution but recognize that a shift of this scale requires assistance. We are proud to have joined forces with the American College of Cardiology and Esperion on this collaborative effort to increase doctor-directed screening and, ultimately, helping to improve cardiovascular care and patient outcomes.”

Currently 27% of high-risk patients achieve recommended LDL cholesterol levels, Esperion Chief Medical Officer JoAnne Foody, MD, FACC, said in the news release.

“Only with a national, multi-stakeholder program of this caliber will we be able to address these significant gaps, improve access to high quality care for all, and improve cardiovascular outcomes,” Foody said. “Esperion is solely focused on our mission to improve heart health and proud to sponsor this national effort.”

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