Assessing Cardiovascular Risk

This module provides evidence-based tools and resources for assessing cardiovascular risk using the ASCVD Risk Estimator in patients and offers practical guidance on how you can integrate it into your primary care clinical practice.


Heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases (CVD) remain a leading cause of death among Americans, contributing to one in three deaths in 2011. About 2,150 Americans die each day from these diseases.  Cardiovascular diseases claim more lives than all forms of cancer combined.  Approximately 85.6 million Americans are living with some form of cardiovascular disease or the after-effects of stroke. [1] A majority of American adults have at least one cardiovascular disease risk factor, including those stemming from lifestyle, age, genetics, or gender. Lifestyle-related risk factors can be modified through behavior change, while others, such as age and genetics, can be mitigated with early prevention and best treatment. The presence of these risk factors increases the likelihood of developing atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD), which can lead to heart failure, heart attack, or stroke, and exacerbate the challenges of living with other diseases, such as diabetes, kidney disease, and HIV/AIDS. 

Why is this important?

Once ASCVD develops, the costs of treating it are high. Approximately 600,000 people die of heart disease each year in the United States.[2] The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates total annual costs of cardiovascular  diseases and stroke total more than to be $320.1 billion in direct health care expenditures and lost productivity.[3] By identifying patients who are at risk for developing cardiovascular disease and stroke, and working with them to reduce those risks, primary care physicians can improve patient health while helping to curb social costs. 

How will these tools help?

This module highlights key information from the 2013 ACC/AHA Guideline on the Assessment of Cardiovascular Risk and challenges healthcare providers to use its newly developed tools and strategies to better assess risk among their patients. [4] The guideline emphasizes the clinician’s role in primary prevention based on the lessons and clinical studies that informed its development. The case study shows how one practice puts this guideline into practice, and the resource library provides links to the original landmark studies and new guideline, as well as tools and resources that can be used with and by patients.  


1Mozaffarian D, Benjamin EJ, Go AS, Arnett DK, Blaha MJ, Cushman M, de Ferranti S, et al. (2014). Heart disease and stroke statistics—2015 update: a report from the American Heart Association [published online ahead of print December 17, 2014]. Circulation. doi: 10.1161/CIR.0000000000000152.
2American College of Cardiology. (2013). CardioSmart: Heart disease statistics. Retrieved December 19, 2014, from
3 Ibid.
4 Goff, D. C., Jr., Lloyd-Jones, D. M., Bennett, G., Coady, S., D’Agostino, R. B., Sr., Gibbons, R., et al. (2014). 2013 ACC/AHA guideline on the assessment of cardiovascular risk: A report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines. Circulation, 129, S49–S73. Retrieved December 19, 2014, from


Target Audience

This module is intended to be used by the following practice staff:

  • Physicians
  • Physician Assistants
  • Nurse Practitioners
  • Registered Nurses
  • Medical Assistants
  • Practice Managers

Learning Objectives

This module provides tools and strategies to help your practice assess patients for cardiovascular risk using the ASCVD-Risk-Estimator, counsel them appropriately, and provide referrals to care when necessary based upon individual risk scores, so you can provide patients with the best possible care.


Course summary
Available credit: 
  • 1.00 Attendance
Course opens: 
Course expires: 
Parent activity set: 

This module was paid for by a grant from Cardio DX.

This module was funded by CardioDx.

Available Credit

  • 1.00 Attendance


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