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Journal of Clinical Lipidology
Year: 2010  |  Volume: 4  |  Issue: 2  |  Page No.: 126 - 132

Loss of early gains in low-density lipoprotein cholesterol goal attainment among high-risk patients

JoAnne M. Foody, Shiva G. Sajjan, X. Henry Hu, Dena R. Ramey, David R. Neff, Andrew M. Tershakovec, Joanne E. Tomassini, Chuck Wentworth and Kaan Tunceli    



Guidelines recommend a low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) measurement of <70 mg/dL as a reasonable goal in high-risk patients with coronary heart disease (CHD) or atherosclerotic vascular disease (AVD).


This retrospective, cross-sectional study examined LDL-C goal attainment monthly trends from January 1, 2004, to August 31, 2008, in a large, managed-care claims database in the United States. High-risk CHD or AVD patients who had at least one LDL-C test during that time period were included (N = 284,915). Average LDL-C values and percent of patients not achieving LDL-C goal (LDL-C ≥70 mg/dL) were obtained by averaging patient level LDL-C values for each month. A linear trend analysis with first-order autocorrelated errors was conducted.


The proportion of patients treated with lipid-lowering therapy gradually increased from 58.5% in 2004 to 70.5% in 2008. Mean LDL-C values in patients treated with lipid-lowering therapy decreased from 100.4 to 96.4 mg/dL, whereas LDL-C remained relatively constant in untreated patients (114.3 mg/dL). In treated patients, the percentage with LDL-C ≥70 mg/dL decreased from 87.5% in January 2004 to 73.8% in December 2006 (P < .0001), then gradually declined between January 2007 (79.6%) and August 2008 (76.2%; P < .0001). Among untreated patients, 92.9% had LDL-C levels ≥70 mg/dL in January 2004 and 93.0% in August 2008.


In conclusion, the percentage of high-risk patients with CHD or AVD treated with lipid-lowering therapy who achieve LDL-C <70 mg/dL levels has increased since 2004, although a large proportion of these patients still do not meet this goal. Additionally, 1 of 4 high-risk patients otherwise eligible for lipid-lowering therapy remains untreated. These data suggest the need for renewed efforts to support guideline-based LDL-C lowering in high-risk patients.

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