Several large controlled clinical trials have documented that cholesterol lowering causes a marked reduction in major coronary events in patients with established coronary heart disease. Cholesterol lowering thus joins other proven therapies for risk reduction in secondary prevention. The need to include cholesterol-lowering therapy in secondary prevention has been endorsed as a new practice measure in the Health Plan Employer Data Information Set. This endorsement ensures that managed care will get behind the effort to better control cholesterol in patients with coronary heart disease. The next issue is whether managed care will support cholesterol-lowering therapy in primary-prevention patients. The patients at highest risk for developing coronary heart disease are those with noncoronary forms of atherosclerotic disease, type 2 diabetes, multiple risk factors, and risk factors plus evidence of advanced subclinical atherosclerosis. Such patients can be said to have coronary heart disease risk equivalents. These patients should be good candidates for aggressive cholesterol management. A strong case can be made for managed-care support for this approach. Support for treatment of patients at lower risk may be open to some question, but the current guidelines of the National Cholesterol Education Program provide a strong rationale for cholesterol management for primary prevention in the medical setting. Copyright (C) 2000 Excerpta Medica Inc.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine