The recently updated American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association cholesterol treatment guidelines outline a paradigm shift in the approach to cardiovascular risk reduction. One major change included a recommendation that practitioners prescribe fixed dose statin regimens rather than focus on specific LDL targets. The goal of this study was to determine whether achieved LDL or statin intensity was more strongly associated with major adverse cardiac events (MACE) using practice-based data from electronic health records (EHR).We analyzed the EHR data of more than 40,000 adult patients on statin therapy between 1995 and 2013. Demographic and clinical variables were extracted from coded data and unstructured clinical text. To account for treatment selection bias we performed propensity score stratification as well as 1:1 propensity score matched analyses. Conditional Cox proportional hazards modeling was used to identify variables associated with MACE.We identified 7,373 adults with complete data whose cholesterol appeared to be actively managed. In a stratified propensity score analysis of the entire cohort over 3.3 years of follow-up, achieved LDL was a significant predictor of MACE outcome (Hazard Ratio 1.1; 95% confidence interval, 1.05-1.2; P < 0.0004), while statin intensity was not. In a 1:1 propensity score matched analysis performed to more aggressively control for covariate balance between treatment groups, achieved LDL remained significantly associated with MACE (HR 1.3; 95% CI, 1.03-1.7; P = 0.03) while treatment intensity again was not a significant predictor.Using EHR data we found that on-treatment achieved LDL level was a significant predictor of MACE. Statin intensity alone was not associated with outcomes. These findings imply that despite recent guidelines, achieved LDL levels are clinically important and LDL titration strategies warrant further investigation in clinical trials.
View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0154952
View details for Web of Science ID 000376882500009
View details for PubMedID 27227451
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4881915