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Circulation. 2005 Feb 1;111(4):488-93.

Opportunity for intervention to achieve American Heart Association guidelines for optimal lipid levels in high-risk women in a managed care setting.

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Columbia University, New York, NY, USA.



The American Heart Association (AHA) recently established evidence-based recommendations for cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevention in women, including lipid management. This study evaluated optimal lipid-level attainment and treatment patterns on the basis of these guidelines in high-risk women in a managed care setting.


We conducted a historical prospective cohort analysis of a 1.1-million-member, integrated, managed-care database. Eligible high-risk women were those with evidence of previous CVD or risk equivalent who had a full lipid panel available between October 1, 1999, and September 30, 2000; were naive to lipid therapy; and had a minimum of 12 months health plan eligibility preindex and postindex lipid panel. Optimal lipid levels were defined as LDL cholesterol (LDL-C) <100 mg/dL, HDL cholesterol (HDL-C) >50 mg/dL, non-HDL-C <130 mg/dL, and triglycerides <150 mg/dL. Laboratory values and lipid pharmacotherapy were assessed longitudinally over the postindex follow-up (up to 36 months). A total of 8353 high-risk women (mean age, 66+/-14 years) with a mean follow-up of 27+/-8 months were included. Only 7% attained optimal combined lipid levels initially, and this increased to 12% after 36 months. Lipid-modifying therapy was initiated in 32% of patients, including 35% of women with LDL-C > or =100 mg/dL and 15% with LDL-C <100 mg/dL.


Among high-risk women, few attained the AHA's standards for all lipid fractions, and only one third received recommended drug therapy, highlighting significant opportunities to apply evidence-based recommendations to manage lipid abnormalities in high-risk women.

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