Tools for cardiovascular risk assessment in clinical practice

Miguel Cainzos-Achirica, Kieran Eissler, Michael J. Blaha, Roger S. Blumenthal, Seth S. Martin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Precise risk stratification of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease guides best management and therefore is a public health priority. In addition to risk estimation using traditional risk factors, tools such as coronary artery calcium, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, ankle-brachial index and carotid imaging, and clinical features such as family history of premature coronary heart disease may offer opportunities for a more personalized risk assessment. In this review, we discuss the strengths and limitations of each of these tools, focusing on the evidence provided by the latest studies relevant to the field. Among them, coronary artery calcium currently stands out as the most powerful tool for cardiovascular risk assessment, as recognized by the 2013 ACC/AHA Risk Assessment Guideline. Recent studies have expanded our knowledge regarding its value for improving the detection of both low and high absolute risk within clinically relevant subgroups, as well as for cost-effectively guiding preventive therapy allocation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalCurrent Cardiovascular Risk Reports
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015


  • Absolute cardiovascular risk
  • Ankle-brachial index
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Carotid intima-media thickness
  • Carotid plaque
  • Coronary artery calcium
  • Family history
  • High-sensitivity C-reactive protein
  • Prevention
  • Risk assessment
  • Risk management
  • Risk scores
  • Serum biomarkers
  • Traditional risk factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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