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Journal of Clinical Lipidology
Year: 2012  |  Volume: 6  |  Issue: 5  |  Page No.: 450 - 461

Clinical and economic benefits observed when follow-up triglyceride levels are less than 500 mg/dL in patients with severe hypertriglyceridemia

Jennifer B. Christian, Bhakti Arondekar, Erin K. Buysman, Susan L. Johnson, John D. Seeger and Terry A. Jacobson    



Increased levels of triglycerides are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and pancreatitis. In this study we investigated the association between patients with severely increased triglycerides whose follow-up triglyceride levels were <500 mg/dL and reduction of important clinical events and associated health care costs.


By using two large U.S. health care claims databases, we identified an initial cohort of 41,210 patients with severe hypertriglyceridemia between June 2001 and September 2010 who had a follow-up laboratory test result 6 to <24 weeks after the initial severe hypertriglyceridemia laboratory value. Of these, 8493 patients' follow-up triglyceride levels remained elevated (≥500 mg/dL) whereas 32,717 were <500 mg/dL. After their qualifying follow-up triglyceride level, patients' cardiovascular events, diabetes-related events, pancreatitis episodes, kidney disease, and related costs were identified. Adjusted incidence rate ratios with the use of Cox proportional hazards models were developed for each outcome.


Patients whose triglycerides remained ≥500 mg/dL had a greater rate of pancreatitis episodes (hazard ratio [HR]1.79; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.47−2.18), cardiovascular events (HR1.19; 95% CI 1.10−1.28), diabetes-related events (HR1.42; 95% CI 1.27−1.59), and kidney disease (HR1.13; 95% CI 1.04−1.22) compared with patients whose follow-up triglycerides were <500 mg/dL, after we adjusted for important confounders. Adjusted all-cause total and cardiovascular-related costs were significantly lower in the first 3 years in patients whose follow-up triglyceride levels were <500 mg/dL compared with those whose triglyceride levels remained increased.


When follow-up triglyceride levels were <500 mg/dL, we observed an associated reduction in the risk of clinical events and decrease in health care resource use and costs.

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