© 2016 Elsevier Inc. Familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) is characterized by high low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol with co-dominant transmission and high risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), although with high variability among subjects. Currently, CVD stratification tools for heterozygous FH (HeFH) are not available. A definition of severe HeFH has been recently proposed by the International Atherosclerosis Society (IAS), but it has not been validated. Our study aims to see clinical characteristics and prevalence of CVD in subjects defined as severe HeFH by IAS criteria. Probable or definite HeFH introduced in the Dyslipidemia Registry of Spanish Arteriosclerosis Society were analyzed by the IAS criteria. Univariate and multivariate analysis was used to assess the association of CVD with the IAS criteria. About 1,732 HeFH cases were analyzed. Severe HeFH had higher prevalence of familial history of CVD, personal history of tendon xanthomas, LDL cholesterol, and CVD than nonsevere HeFH. A total of 656 (77.1%) and 441 (50.1%) of men and women, respectively, fulfilled the IAS criteria of severe HeFH. In the univariate analysis, subjects defined as severe HeFH showed odds ratio 3.016 (95% CI 3.136 to 4.257, p <0.001) for CVD. However, when traditional risk factors were included in the multivariate analysis, only the presence of cholesterol >400 mg/dl had a statistically significant association with CVD odds ratio 8.76 (95% CI 3.90 to 19.69, p <0.001). In conclusion, the IAS definition of severe HeFH is not significantly associated with CVD when adjusted for classic risk factors. Risk stratification in HeFH is an important issue, but the proposed criteria do not seem to solve this problem.