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Prog Cardiovasc Nurs. 2002 Fall;17(4):167-73.

Small LDL and its clinical importance as a new CAD risk factor: a female case study.

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Advanced Cardiovascular Prevention Program, American Cardiovascular Research Institute, Atlanta, GA 30342, USA.


The underlying metabolic cause of coronary heart disease in many patients is not high blood cholesterol. In fact, the Framingham study has reported that 80% of individuals who go on to have coronary artery disease have the same total blood cholesterol values as those who do not go on to have a cardiovascular event. The most common metabolic contributor to coronary artery disease is the atherogenic lipoprotein profile, characterized by an abundance of highly atherogenic small, dense low-density lipoprotein particles and a deficiency of the high-density lipoprotein (HDL) subtype most associated with coronary artery disease protection (HDL(2b)). This trait is present in 50% of men with coronary artery disease and is not reflected by total or low-density lipoprotein cholesterol values. While fasting triglycerides tend to he higher, and HDL cholesterol lower in patients with the atherogenic lipoprotein profile, the majority have triglyceride and HDL cholesterol values generally accepted to be in the "normal" range. An abundance of basic science and clinical trial evidence convincingly indicates that the presence of an atherogenic lipoprotein profile signifies a three-fold increased risk for a cardiovascular event and rapid arteriographic progression, but it also identifies a group of patients who respond particularly well to specific therapeutic interventions. Often the most effective interventions are the least expensive.

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