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Prevention of cardiovascular diseases

Guest Editor: Prof Richard Hobbs

The World Health Organization has implemented a global action plan for the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases (NCD) with an aim to reduce these by 25% in the next 5 years. The most important NCD cluster is cardiovascular disease (CVD), which is the first cause of mortality globally resulting in 17 million deaths per year via its main manifestations of myocardial infarction and stroke. Many of these deaths could be avoided or delayed by modifying several lifestyle risk factors including tobacco smoking, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and harmful alcohol use. Control of these risk factors at the population-wide level is being implemented through strategies, screening and policies in order to reduce the burden of heart disease and to lower global and regional cardiovascular disease risk.

Individual interventions are aimed at those with a high cardiovascular risk or those at risk of hypertension and hypercholesterolemia. Secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease includes treatment with aspirin, beta-blockers, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors and lipid lowering drugs, especially statins. Emerging evidence highlights novel therapies like proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (PCSK9) inhibitors to be effective in lowering cholesterol.

Several societies in the UK, Europe and US that focus on cardiovascular diseases have recently updated their guidelines on the prevention of cardiovascular diseases some of which incorporate risk assessment tools to help reduce an individual’s risk of developing CVD. These are useful resources for all physicians and healthcare providers who are involved in the prevention of CVD.

This article collection in BMC Medicine seeks to tackle the important topic on prevention of CVD by highlighting modifiable lifestyle risk factors, population screening strategies, novel drug treatments, risk assessment tools and differences between guidelines. The collection will include original research articles as well as invited reviews and commentaries. If you have any research you would like us to consider for inclusion of the series, please email us at

  1. The most prescribed medications in the world are statins, lipid modifiers that have been available for over 25 years and amongst the most investigated of all drug classes. With over a million patient years of ...

    Authors: FD Richard Hobbs, Maciej Banach, Dimitri P. Mikhailidis, Aseem Malhotra and Simon Capewell
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2016 14:4
  2. Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the most important cause of premature death and disability globally. Much is known of the main aetiological risk factors, including elevated blood pressure, dyslipidaemia and sm...

    Authors: F. D. Richard Hobbs
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2015 13:261
  3. Barely a decade after the discovery of the gene encoding proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (PCSK9) and its recognition as a key player in cholesterol metabolism, PCSK9 inhibition is now considered ...

    Authors: Robert M. Stoekenbroek, John JP Kastelein and Roeland Huijgen
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2015 13:258
  4. Promoting and supporting smoking reduction in smokers with no immediate intention of stopping smoking is controversial given existing fears that this will deter cessation and that reduction itself may not impr...

    Authors: Rachna Begh, Nicola Lindson-Hawley and Paul Aveyard
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2015 13:257
  5. Diagnosing and treating hypertension plays an important role in minimising the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. Early and accurate diagnosis of hypertension, as well as regular monitoring, is essenti...

    Authors: Claire L. Schwartz and Richard J. McManus
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2015 13:256
  6. Virtual histology intravascular ultrasound (VH-IVUS) imaging is an innovative tool for the morphological evaluation of coronary atherosclerosis. Evidence for the effects of statin therapy on VH-IVUS parameters...

    Authors: Maciej Banach, Corina Serban, Amirhossein Sahebkar, Dimitri P. Mikhailidis, Sorin Ursoniu, Kausik K. Ray, Jacek Rysz, Peter P. Toth, Paul Muntner, Svetlana Mosteoru, Hector M. García-García, G. Kees Hovingh, John JP Kastelein and Patrick W. Serruys
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2015 13:229
  7. Low birth weight and unhealthy lifestyles in adulthood have been independently associated with an elevated risk of hypertension. However, no study has examined the joint effects of these factors on incidence o...

    Authors: Yanping Li, Sylvia H. Ley, Tyler J. VanderWeele, Gary C. Curhan, Janet W. Rich-Edwards, Walter C. Willett, John P. Forman, Frank B. Hu and Lu Qi
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2015 13:175
  8. The introduction of modern troponin assays has facilitated diagnosis of acute myocardial infarction due to improved sensitivity with corresponding loss of specificity. Atrial fibrillation (AF) is associated wi...

    Authors: Christoph Liebetrau, Michael Weber, Stergios Tzikas, Lars Palapies, Helge Möllmann, Gerhard Pioro, Tanja Zeller, Andres Beiras-Fernandez, Christoph Bickel, Andreas M. Zeiher, Karl J. Lackner, Stephan Baldus, Holger M. Nef, Stefan Blankenberg, Christian W. Hamm, Thomas Münzel…
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2015 13:169
  9. Inhibition of proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (PCSK9) has been intensively studied to lower low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) levels. The purpose of this meta-analysis was to evaluate t...

    Authors: Xin-Lin Zhang, Qing-Qing Zhu, Li Zhu, Jian-Zhou Chen, Qin-Hua Chen, Guan-Nan Li, Jun Xie, Li-Na Kang and Biao Xu
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2015 13:123