AHA/ACC Issue Updated Chronic Coronary Disease Guidelines

The latest clinical practice guideline for managing patients with chronic coronary disease (CCD) takes an evidence-based and patient-centered approach to care and includes key updates on revascularization, beta-blocker use, and routine functional and anatomic testing.

Developed by the American Heart Association (AHA), the American College of Cardiology (ACC), and other specialty societies, the 2023 guideline both updates and consolidates ACC/AHA guidelines previously published in 2012 and 2014 for the management of patients with stable ischemic heart disease.

It was published online July 20 in  Circulation and the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Among the key recommendations:

  • Long-term beta-blocker therapy is no longer recommended for improving outcomes for patients with CCD in the absence of myocardial infarction (MI) within the past year, left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) ≤50%, or another primary indication for beta-blocker therapy. Either a calcium channel blocker or a beta-blocker is recommended as first-line antianginal therapy.

  • Sodium glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors and glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists are recommended for select groups of patients with CCD, including individuals without diabetes, to improve outcomes.

  • Statins remain first-line therapy for lipid lowering for patients with CCD. Several adjunctive therapies, such as ezetimibe, proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (PCSK9) inhibitors, inclisiran, or bempedoic acid, may be used in select populations, although clinical outcomes data are not yet available for novel agents such as inclisiran and bempedoic acid.

  • Shorter durations of dual antiplatelet therapy are safe and effective in many circumstances, particularly when the risk of bleeding is high and the ischemic risk is not high.

  • The use of nonprescription or dietary supplements, including fish oil and omega-3 fatty acids or vitamins, is not recommended for patients with CCD, given the lack of benefit in reducing cardiovascular events.

  • Revascularization is recommended in two scenarios: (1) for patients with lifestyle-limiting angina despite guideline-directed medical therapy and with coronary stenoses amenable to revascularization, with the goal of improving symptoms; and (2) for patients with significant left main disease or multivessel disease with severe LV dysfunction (LVEF ≤35%), for whom coronary artery bypass grafting plus medical therapy is recommended over medical therapy alone, with the goal of improving survival.

  • Routine periodic anatomic or ischemic testing in the absence of a change in clinical or functional status is not recommended for risk stratification or to guide therapeutic decision-making for patients with CCD.

  • Nondrug therapies, including healthy dietary habits and exercise, are recommended for all patients with CCD. When possible, patients should participate in regular physical activity, including activities to reduce sitting time and to increase aerobic and resistance exercise.

  • Cardiac rehabilitation for eligible patients provides significant cardiovascular benefits, including decreased morbidity and mortality.

  • Electronic cigarettes increase the odds of successful smoking cessation, but they are not recommended as first-line therapy, owing to the lack of long-term safety data and risks associated with sustained use.

Living Document

The co-authors of a related editorial note that “CCD as defined in the 2023 guideline includes patients who may or may not have classic signs and symptoms of CAD.

“The 2023 guideline reflects this heterogeneity by including patients stabilized after acute coronary syndrome hospitalization, those with ischemic cardiomyopathy, stable angina or equivalent with or without a positive imaging test, vasospasm or microvascular disease, and positive noninvasive screening test leading to a clinician diagnosis of CAD,” write Sunil V. Rao, MD, with NYU Langone Health System, and co-authors.

“The focus of the guideline is on extending life and improving quality of life for CCD patients, taking into account patient priorities, and the importance of equitable care. There is emphasis on shared decision making that involves the patient’s preferences and values when considering treatment options,” they point out.

“Importantly, the guidelines exist to provide guidance, and are meant to complement, not supplant, clinical judgment. As the evidence for the management of CCD continues to evolve, the guidelines will need to be a ‘living document’ to ensure that clinicians and patients can achieve their shared therapeutic goals of reducing mortality and improving quality of life,” they add.

The 2023 guideline on management of patients with CCD was developed in collaboration with and was endorsed by the American College of Clinical Pharmacy, the American Society for Preventive Cardiology, the National Lipid Association, and the Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association. It has been endorsed by the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions.

The research had no commercial funding. Disclosures for the writing group are available with the original articles.

Circulation. Published online July 20, 2023. Abstract, Editorial

J Am Coll Cardiol. Published online July 20, 2023. Abstract

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