PCOR Evidence: ABCS of Heart Health

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. To prevent heart attacks, health care professionals can work with their patients to adopt the ABCS of cardiovascular disease prevention: Aspirin use by high-risk individuals, Blood pressure control, Cholesterol management, and Smoking cessation.

New medical evidence continually surfaces about how best to deliver the ABCS. The goal of EvidenceNOW is to ensure that primary care practices have the latest evidence and that they use it to help their patients live healthier and longer lives.

What Research Is EvidenceNOW Using To Improve Heart Health?

EvidenceNOW is helping primary care practices use the latest patient-centered outcomes research (PCOR) findings to improve heart health. PCOR is research that compares the effectiveness of two or more preventive, diagnostic, or treatment approaches on health outcomes.

Learn more below about the PCOR evidence used in EvidenceNOW to improve the ABCS of heart health.

Aspirin Use

Strong PCOR evidence shows taking aspirin can help patients lower their risk of heart disease. EvidenceNOW references the scientific evidence and clinical guidelines from the 2011 American Heart Association (AHA) and the American College of Cardiology Foundation (ACCF).

Learn more about the PCOR evidence behind aspirin use for high-risk individuals.

Blood Pressure Control

EvidenceNOW references the 2004 Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure (JNC7) clinical guidelines, which are still considered the strongest PCOR evidence. Emerging studies, such as the 2015 SPRINT trial and a new AHA and American College of Cardiology (ACC) effort to update the guidelines, may lead to changes in PCOR-based recommendations.

Learn more about the PCOR evidence behind blood pressure control.

Cholesterol Management

Using statins, a type of medication for lowering cholesterol, can reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke in patients with heart disease or at increased risk for heart disease.  EvidenceNOW references the 2013 cholesterol clinical guideline based on the collaboration of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), ACC, and AHA.

Learn more about the PCOR evidence behind cholesterol management.

Smoking Cessation

PCOR evidence from the 2015 U.S. Preventive Services Task Force offers evidence-based recommendations for behavioral and pharmacological interventions to help people quit smoking.

Learn more about the PCOR evidence behind smoking cessation.

Page last reviewed October 2016
Page originally created October 2016
Internet Citation: PCOR Evidence: ABCS of Heart Health. Content last reviewed October 2016. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/evidencenow/about/pcor-evidence/index.html