Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of mortality worldwide, resulting in more than 17 million deaths in 2008. Early detection and treatment of high-risk patients has been endorsed as an important strategy to prevent cardiovascular events. The Institute of Medicine has emphasized the importance of evidence-based medicine expressed through guideline recommendations as a means to improve patient outcomes. Health care providers involved in preventive medicine are called on to initiate therapies to prevent cardiovascular disease through the use of guidelines issued by multiple groups. Yet concerns remain about the process by which guidelines might be developed, and a lack of congruence among their recommendations is one reason for low implementation by health care providers.
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