Visualizing the ACC/AHA ASCVD Pooled Cohort Equations

ASCVD Pooled Cohort Equations Visualization Tool - By Risk Factor

The newest ACC/AHA ASCVD Pooled Cohort Equations has been a very hot topic lately.  Our free web-based ASCVD tool and mobile applications have been very well received.  A number of ClinCalc readers have asked for a better understanding of the Pooled Cohort Equations — how is an ASCVD calculated?  How “strong” is each risk factor?

To help clinicians understand the new Pooled Cohort Equations, we’ve released a fantastic new visualization and graphing tool.  The tool is intended for the advanced clinician who wants to delve deeper into the equations and visualize the tool in a novel, interactive way.

A New ASCVD Pooled Cohort Equations Visualization Tool

ASCVD Pooled Cohort Equations Visualization Tool - By Race and Sex

ASCVD Pooled Cohort Equations Visualization Tool - 3D Graph By Two Independent Factors

When we’re asked about how various factors are worked into the ASCVD calculation, our answer is always the same: it’s complicated and it depends.

The Pooled Cohort Equations are actually four different equations (based on race and gender).  Each equation can have up to 13 coefficients as part of a complex linear regression model.

While the complexity of the equations has undoubtedly improved their accuracy, it has turned the equations into a “black box”.  Clinicians have no way to understand how each risk factor weighs into an individual patient’s risk assessment.

Key Features to the New Visualization Tool

Our new ASCVD visualization tool has a number of graphical options and settings that will generate interactive graphics (as shown above):

  • 2D graphs showing the differences in ASCVD risk among different sex and race cohorts
  • 2D graphs showing how various risk factors (treated hypertension, diabetes, and smoking) influence a specific patient’s predicted ASCVD risk
  • For those really wanting to nerd out, we also have a 3-dimensional graph showing the influence of two different continuous risk factors on 10-year ASCVD risk

After creating the completely unnecessary 3D graph, it was decided that three dimensions just wasn’t enough.  We added a component of time (thus a 4-dimensional graph) by allowing the use of an animating graph to visualize the influence an additional risk factor:

Animated ASCVD Graph

Check Out the Visualization Tool

Our Pooled Cohort Equations Visualization Tool isn’t going to be used daily at the bedside — our standard ASCVD Risk Calculator is more appropriate for the clinical setting.  Instead, our visualization tool is perfect for developing a better understanding for how the calculation works and how different risk factors weigh into the final risk assessment.

3 thoughts on “Visualizing the ACC/AHA ASCVD Pooled Cohort Equations

  1. Raymond Jaglowski, MD

    1. The boxes for the “Leave a Reply” Name*, Email*, Website are not lined up properly and only the top one half on the character is visible as I am typing. The comment box is readable.
    2. Along the same line, when “calculate” is clicked, the “boxes” available for Gender, Systolic BP, Smoking Status and Diabetes momentarily change and reveal that the boxes simply lie over small “bubbles”. This would account for the difficulty in getting the default boxes to change when they are clicked. Several attempts are sometimes required and if the box isn’t aligned correctly, I must be clicking the wrong location. It would be preferable just to allow one to click the actual bulleted circle. Thank you

    1. Sean P. Kane Post author

      I’m sorry to hear that you’re having problems. What web browser are you using? Please feel free to email me ( so that I can track down the issue!


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