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New US heart guidelines back stronger therapies for high-risk patients

By The Baltimore Sun / Reuters  
   November 13, 2013

New U.S. guidelines on heart health that were a decade in the making recommend stronger measures for patients at particularly high risk of heart attack or stroke, including more aggressive therapy with drugs that lower cholesterol or even weight loss surgery. The guidelines issued by two leading U.S. medical organizations on Tuesday are likely to be followed by cardiologists and primary care physicians, as well as influence insurance coverage. The guidelines dropped an emphasis on specific targets for lowering "bad" LDL cholesterol levels and suggest that individual patient risk of developing heart disease rather than a LDL number should be used to determine the need for more intensive treatment with cholesterol-lowering statin drugs.

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