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1.  Comparing primary prevention with secondary prevention to explain decreasing Coronary Heart Disease death rates in Ireland, 1985–2000 
BMC Public Health  2007;7:117.
Background
To investigate whether primary prevention might be more favourable than secondary prevention (risk factor reduction in patients with coronary heart disease(CHD)).
Methods
The cell-based IMPACT CHD mortality model was used to integrate data for Ireland describing CHD patient numbers, uptake of specific treatments, trends in major cardiovascular risk factors, and the mortality benefits of these specific risk factor changes in CHD patients and in healthy people without recognised CHD.
Results
Between 1985 and 2000, approximately 2,530 fewer deaths were attributable to reductions in the three major risk factors in Ireland. Overall smoking prevalence declined by 14% between 1985 and 2000, resulting in about 685 fewer deaths (minimum estimate 330, maximum estimate 1,285) attributable to smoking cessation: about 275 in healthy people and 410 in known CHD patients. Population total cholesterol concentrations fell by 4.6%, resultingin approximately 1,300 (minimum estimate 1,115, maximum estimate 1,660) fewer deaths attributable to dietary changes(1,185 in healthy people and 115 in CHD patients) plus 305 fewer deaths attributable to statin treatment (45 in people without CHD and 260 in CHD patients). Mean population diastolic blood pressure fell by 7.2%, resulting in approximately 170 (minimum estimate 105, maximum estimate 300) fewer deaths attributable to secular falls in blood pressure (140 in healthy people and 30 in CHD patients), plus approximately 70 fewer deaths attributable to antihypertensive treatments in people without CHD.
Of all the deaths attributable to risk factor falls, some 1,715 (68%) occurred in people without recognized CHD and 815(32%) in CHD patients.
Conclusion
Compared with secondary prevention, primary prevention achieved a two-fold larger reduction in CHD deaths. Future national CHD policies should therefore prioritize nationwide interventions to promote healthy diets and reduce smoking.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-7-117
PMCID: PMC1914046  PMID: 17584932
2.  The Effect of Alternative Summary Statistics for Communicating Risk Reduction on Decisions about Taking Statins: A Randomized Trial 
PLoS Medicine  2009;6(8):e1000134.
Carling and colleagues carry out a trial evaluating different methods of communicating information to people regarding the risks and benefits of taking statins. They suggest that natural frequencies are likely to be the most appropriate summary statistic for presenting the effects of treatment.
Background
While different ways of presenting treatment effects can affect health care decisions, little is known about which presentations best help people make decisions consistent with their own values. We compared six summary statistics for communicating coronary heart disease (CHD) risk reduction with statins: relative risk reduction and five absolute summary measures—absolute risk reduction, number needed to treat, event rates, tablets needed to take, and natural frequencies.
Methods and Findings
We conducted a randomized trial to determine which presentation resulted in choices most consistent with participants' values. We recruited adult volunteers who participated through an interactive Web site. Participants rated the relative importance of outcomes using visual analogue scales (VAS). We then randomized participants to one of the six summary statistics and asked them to choose whether to take statins based on this information. We calculated a relative importance score (RIS) by subtracting the VAS scores for the downsides of taking statins from the VAS score for CHD. We used logistic regression to determine the association between participants' RIS and their choice. 2,978 participants completed the study. Relative risk reduction resulted in a 21% higher probability of choosing to take statins over all values of RIS compared to the absolute summary statistics. This corresponds to a number needed to treat (NNT) of 5; i.e., for every five participants shown the relative risk reduction one additional participant chose to take statins, compared to the other summary statistics. There were no significant differences among the absolute summary statistics in the association between RIS and participants' decisions whether to take statins. Natural frequencies were best understood (86% reported they understood them well or very well), and participants were most satisfied with this information.
Conclusions
Presenting the benefits of taking statins as a relative risk reduction increases the likelihood of people accepting treatment compared to presenting absolute summary statistics, independent of the relative importance they attach to the consequences. Natural frequencies may be the most suitable summary statistic for presenting treatment effects, based on self-reported preference, understanding of and satisfaction with the information, and confidence in the decision.
Clinical Trials Registration
ISRCTN85194921
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
People often have to make decisions about their health care. Ideally, all the health care decisions that a person makes should be those best suited to his or her personal circumstances and expectations. Take, for example, someone with a high amount of cholesterol (a type of fat) in his or her blood. Because this condition increases the chances of developing potentially fatal coronary heart disease (CHD), such a person will often be advised by his or her doctor to take statins to reduce blood cholesterol levels. However, the person needs to consider both the benefits and downsides of this course of action. Can he or she afford to pay for statins, if their health care system requires him or her to? Does the person want to take a pill every day that might cause some side effects? That is, the person has to consider his or her “values”—the relative desirability of all the possible outcomes of taking statins—before deciding whether to follow his or her doctor's advice.
Why Was This Study Done?
It is well known that how information is presented to patients about treatment options and their consequences affects the choices that they make. For example, patients who are told that a drug will halve their chances of developing a disease (a 50% relative risk reduction) are more likely to decide to take that drug than those who are told it will reduce their absolute (actual) risk of developing the disease from 4% to 2%. Less is known, however, about which presentations of treatment effects best help people to make decisions that are consistent with their own values. In 2002, therefore, a series of internet-based randomized trials (studies in which participants are randomly allocated to different “treatment” groups) called the Health Information Project: Presentation Online (HIPPO) was initiated. Here, the researchers describe HIPPO 2, a trial that investigates how alternative summary statistics for communicating the reduction of CHD risk with statins affect people's decisions to take statins.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
Nearly 3,000 adults in Norway and North America rated the relative importance to them of CHD risk reduction, the cost of statins, and the need to take a daily pill through an interactive Web site. The researchers used these data to calculate a “relative importance score” (RIS), an indicator of each participant's values. Each participant then decided whether or not to take statins after being shown one of six summary statistics about the effect of statins on CHD risk (relative risk reduction and five indicators of absolute risk reduction). The presentation of the effect of statins as a relative risk reduction resulted in more people deciding to take statins over the whole RIS range than any of the absolute summary statistics. For every five participants shown the relative risk reduction statistic, an extra participant chose to take statins compared to the other summary statistics. When asked to compare the six summary statistics, the statistic that most people preferred and understood best was the “natural frequency,” an absolute summary statistic that gave the number of people likely to develop CHD with and without statin treatment.
What Do These Findings Mean?
Although these findings may not be generalizable to other populations or to other medical decisions, they provide new insights into how the presentation of information can affect the choices people make about health care. Specifically, these findings indicate that the presentation of the reduced risk of getting CHD as a result of taking stains as a relative amount is more likely to persuade people to take statins than several absolute summary statistics. They also suggest that the persuasive effect of the relative risk reduction summary statistic is not affected by the relative importance attached to the consequences of taking statins by individuals. That is, people shown the relative risk reduction statistic may be more likely to start statins to reduce their CHD risk (or a drug that reduces the risk of developing another disease) whatever their personal values than people shown absolute summary statistics. Finally, the findings on participant preferences suggest that natural frequencies may be the best summary statistic to include in tools designed to help people make decisions about their healthcare.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000134.
A PLoS Medicine Editorial discusses this trial and the results of another HIPPO trial that are presented in a separate PLoS Medicine Research Article by Carling and colleagues; details of a pilot HIPPO trial are also available
The Foundation for Informed Medical Decision Making (a US-based non-profit organization) provides information on many aspects of medical decision making
The Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center provides information to help people make health care decisions through its Center for Shared Decision Making
The Ottawa Hospital Research Institute provides also information on patient decision aids, including an inventory of decision aids available on the Web (in English and French)
MedlinePlus provides links to information and advice about statins and about coronary heart disease (in English and Spanish)
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000134
PMCID: PMC2724738  PMID: 19707575
3.  Modelling the decline in coronary heart disease deaths in England and Wales, 1981-2000: comparing contributions from primary prevention and secondary prevention 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  2005;331(7517):614.
Objective To investigate whether population based primary prevention (risk factor reduction in apparently healthy people) might be more powerful than current government initiatives favouring risk factor reduction in patients with coronary heart disease (CHD) (secondary prevention).
Design, setting, and participants The IMPACT model was used to synthesise data for England and Wales describing CHD patient numbers, uptake of specific treatments, trends in major cardiovascular risk factors, and the mortality benefits of these specific risk factor changes in healthy people and in CHD patients.
Results Between 1981 and 2000, CHD mortality rates fell by 54%, resulting in 68 230 fewer deaths in 2000. Overall smoking prevalence declined by 35% between 1981 and 2000, resulting in approximately 29 715 (minimum estimate 20 035, maximum estimate 44 675) fewer deaths attributable to smoking cessation: approximately 5035 in known CHD patients and approximately 24 680 in healthy people. Population total cholesterol concentrations fell by 4.2%, resulting in approximately 5770 fewer deaths attributable to dietary changes (1205 in CHD patients and 4565 in healthy people) plus 2135 fewer deaths attributable to statin treatment (1990 in CHD patients, 145 in people without CHD). Mean population blood pressure fell by 7.7%, resulting in approximately 5870 fewer deaths attributable to secular falls in blood pressure (520 in CHD patients and 5345 in healthy people) plus approximately 1890 fewer deaths attributable to antihypertensive treatments in people without CHD. Approximately 45 370 fewer deaths were thus attributable to reductions in the three major risk factors in the population: some 36 625 (81%) in people without recognised CHD and 8745 (19%) in CHD patients.
Conclusions Compared with secondary prevention, primary prevention achieved a fourfold larger reduction in deaths. Future CHD policies should prioritise population-wide tobacco control and healthier diets.
doi:10.1136/bmj.38561.633345.8F
PMCID: PMC1215556  PMID: 16107431
4.  Statins for primary prevention: at what coronary risk is safety assured? 
Aims
Increasingly HMG CoA reductase inhibitors (statins) are being used for primary prevention of vascular disease in patients with a raised cholesterol but at low absolute risk of coronary heart disease (CHD). This study uses clinical trial results to explore the limits of absolute safety for statin use in such patients.
Methods
The major placebo controlled statin outcome trials were identified by automated and manual literature searches. Principal results including all cause mortality in placebo and intervention groups and baseline values of standard coronary risk factors were abstracted for each trial. For the trials identified the reduction in overall mortality with statin treatment for each study was regressed against the underlying CHD risk of the population recruited into that trial using a statistically robust method.
Results
The regression line describing the relationship between mortality benefit and risk suggests that statin use could be associated with an increase in mortality of 1% in 10 years. This would be sufficiently large to negate statin's beneficial effect on CHD mortality in patients with a CHD event risk less than 13% over 10 years.
Conclusions
Absolute safety of statins has not been demonstrated for patients at low risk of CHD. Patients absolute risk of CHD should be calculated before starting statin treatment for primary prevention. Extensions of such treatment to low risk patients should await further evidence of safety.
doi:10.1046/j.0306-5251.2001.01478.x
PMCID: PMC2014585  PMID: 11678788
drug safety; hydroxymethylglutaryl-Co A reductase inhibitors; hyperlipidaemia; meta-analysis
5.  Primary prevention of coronary heart disease: integration of new data, evolving views, revised goals, and role of rosuvastatin in management. A comprehensive survey 
A recent explosion in the amount of cardiovascular risk and incipient, undetected subclinical cardiovascular pathology has swept across the globe. Nearly 70% of adult Americans are overweight or obese; the prevalence of visceral obesity stands at 53% and continues to rise. At any one time, 55% of the population is on a weight-loss diet, and almost all fail. Fewer than 15% of adults or children exercise sufficiently, and over 60% engage in no vigorous activity. Among adults, 11%–13% have diabetes, 34% have hypertension, 36% have prehypertension, 36% have prediabetes, 12% have both prediabetes and prehypertension, and 15% of the population with either diabetes, hypertension, or dyslipidemia are undiagnosed. About one-third of the adult population, and 80% of the obese, have fatty livers. With 34% of children overweight or obese, prevalence having doubled in just a few years, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemia, and fatty livers in children are at their highest levels ever. Half of adults have at least one cardiovascular risk factor. Not even 1% of the population attains ideal cardiovascular health. Despite falling coronary death rates for decades, coronary heart disease (CHD) death rates in US women 35 to 54 years of age may now be increasing because of the obesity epidemic. Up to 65% of patients do not have their conventional risk biomarkers under control. Only 30% of high risk patients with CHD achieve aggressive low density lipoprotein (LDL) targets. Of those patients with multiple risk factors, fewer than 10% have all of them adequately controlled. Even when patients are titrated to evidence-based targets, about 70% of cardiac events remain unaddressed. Undertreatment is also common. About two-thirds of high risk primary care patients are not taking needed medications for dyslipidemia. Poor patient adherence, typically below 50%, adds further difficulty. Hence, after all such fractional reductions are multiplied, only a modest portion of total cardiovascular risk burden is actually being eliminated, and the full potential of risk reduction remains unrealized. Worldwide the situation is similar, with the prevalence of metabolic syndrome approaching 50%. Primordial prevention, resulting from healthful lifestyle habits that do not permit the appearance of risk factors, is the preferred method to lower cardiovascular risk. Lowering the prevalence of obesity is the most urgent matter, and is pleiotropic since it affects blood pressure, lipid profiles, glucose metabolism, inflammation, and atherothrombotic disease progression. Physical activity also improves several risk factors, with the additional potential to lower heart rate. Given the current obstacles, success of primordial prevention remains uncertain. At the same time, the consequences of delay and inaction will inevitably be disastrous, and the sense of urgency mounts. Since most CHD events arise in a large subpopulation of low- to moderate-risk individuals, identifying a high proportion of those who will go on to develop events with accuracy remains unlikely. Without a refinement in risk prediction, the current model of targeting high-risk individuals for aggressive therapy may not succeed alone, especially given the rising burden of risk. Estimating cardiovascular risk over a period of 10 years, using scoring systems such as Framingham or SCORE, continues to enjoy widespread use and is recommended for all adults. Limitations in the former have been of concern, including the under- or over-estimation of risk in specific populations, a relatively short 10-year risk horizon, focus on myocardial infarction and CHD death, and exclusion of family history. Classification errors may occur in up to 37% of individuals, particularly women and the young. Several different scoring systems are discussed in this review. The use of lifetime risk is an important conceptual advance, since ≥90% of young adults with a low 10-year risk have a lifetime risk of ≥39%; over half of all American adults have a low 10-year risk but a high lifetime risk. At age 50 the absence of traditional risk factors is associated with extremely low lifetime risk and significantly greater longevity. Pathological and epidemiological data confirm that atherosclerosis begins in early childhood, and advances seamlessly and inexorably throughout life. Risk factors in childhood are similar to those in adults, and track between stages of life. When indicated, aggressive treatment should begin at the earliest indication, and be continued for years. For those patients at intermediate risk according to global risk scores, C-reactive protein (CRP), coronary artery calcium (CAC), and carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT) are available for further stratification. Using statins for primary prevention is recommended by guidelines, is prevalent, but remains underprescribed. Statin drugs are unrivaled, evidence-based, major weapons to lower cardiovascular risk. Even when low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) targets are attained, over half of patients continue to have disease progression and clinical events. This residual risk is of great concern, and multiple sources of remaining risk exist. Though clinical evidence is incomplete, altering or raising the blood high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) level continues to be pursued. Of all agents available, rosuvastatin produces the greatest reduction in LDL-C, LDL-P, and improvement in apoA-I/apoB, together with a favorable safety profile. Several recent proposals and methods to lower cardiovascular risk are reviewed. A combination of approaches, such as the addition of lifetime risk, refinement of risk prediction, guideline compliance, novel treatments, improvement in adherence, and primordial prevention, including environmental and social intervention, will be necessary to lower the present high risk burden.
doi:10.2147/DDDT.S14934
PMCID: PMC3140289  PMID: 21792295
primary prevention; cardiovascular risk; coronary heart disease; primordial prevention; rosuvastatin; JUPITER study; statin drugs; C-reactive protein; inflammation; low-density lipoprotein; high-density lipoprotein; diabetes; metabolic syndrome; Framingham risk score; Reynolds risk score; SCORE; coronary artery calcification; carotid intima-media thickness; hypertension; obesity; non-HDL-cholesterol; LDL-P; dysfunctional HDL; lifetime risk; advanced lipid testing; Bogalusa Heart Study
6.  Status of lipid-lowering therapy prescribedbased on recommendations in the 2002 report of the Japan Atherosclerosis Society Guideline for Diagnosis and Treatment of Hyperlipidemia in Japanese Adults: A study of the Japan Lipid Assessment Program (J-LAP) 
Background:
In its 1997 Guideline for Diagnosis and Treatment of Hyperlipidemia in Japanese Adults and subsequent revisions, the Japan10 Atherosclerosis Society (JAS) recommends serum lipid management goals (SLMGs) based on a coronary heart disease (CHD) risk classification. A literature search revealed that the status of lipid-lowering therapy based on the current JAS recommendations in Japan has not been assessed.
Objective:
The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of current lipid-lowering 10 regimens, and to provide the best possible therapeutic strategies for patients with hyperlipidemia by identifying risk factors for the development of CHD, based on the current JAS recommendations.
Methods:
This multicenter, retrospective study was conducted using data 10 from patients under the care of physicians at 12,500 randomly selected institutions across Japan. Physicians received a survey concerning lipid-lowering therapy, on which each physician provided data from 10 consecutive adult patients with hyperlipidemia who had been prescribed lipid-lowering therapy for at least 3 months before the survey was administered, and who were undergoing routine follow-up on an outpatient basis. Physicians provided patients' demographic and clinical data, including JAS-defined CHD risk classification coronary risk factors and pre- and posttreatment (after ≥3 months) serum lipid levels, and the types and dosages of drugs in patients' current and prior treatment regimens. These data were used to assess the efficacy of lipid-lowering regimens and rates of patients achieving the SLMGs recommended by the JAS.
Results:
A total of 2540 physicians participated in the survey, and data from 10 24,893 Japanese patients (mean [SD] age, 65.8 [10.5] years) with hyperlipidemia were included in the study. Patients with familial hyperlipidemia (845/24,893 [3.4%]) were excluded from most of the analyses, leaving 24,048 patients with primary hyperlipidemia. The most prevalent coronary risk factors included age (21,902 [91.1%]), hypertension (14,275 [59.4%]), diabetes mellitus type 2 and/or impaired glucose tolerance (6346 [26.4%]), and smoking (3841 [16.0%]). A total of 20,948 patients (87.1%) had a CHD risk classification of B (ie, ≥1 coronary risk factor but no history of CHD). At the time of the survey, the lipid-lowering regimens of 22,080 patients (91.8%) included a statin. The rates of achievement of SLMGs were as follows: total cholesterol (TC), 12,659/23,840 patients (53.1%); low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), 14,025/22,121 (63.4%); high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, 19,702/21,279 (92.6%); and triglycerides (TG), 14,892/ 23,569 (63.2%). TC and LDL-C goals were achieved by most patients (≥61.1%) in risk categories A, B1, and B2 (ie, 0–2 coronary risk factors; low to moderate risk) but by a low percentage of patients (≤45.4%) in risk categories B3, B4, and C (ie, ≥3 coronary risk factors or history of CHD; high risk). In the high-risk group (n = 10,515), the TC goal was achieved by 4059 patients (38.6%). The TC and LDL-C goals were achieved by significantly higher percentages of patients prescribed atorvastatin (5133/7928 [64.7%] and 5487/7426 [73.9%], respectively) compared with the rates of patients prescribed any other statin at the recommended starting doses (all, P < 0.05).
Conclusions:
The results of this study of Japanese patients undergoing lipid-lowering 10 therapy for the prevention of CHD, prescribed based on the recommendations in the JAS guideline, suggest insufficient reduction of TC, LDL-C, and TG in patients at high risk for CHD and the need for more aggressive lipid-lowering therapy in such patients.
doi:10.1016/j.curtheres.2005.04.004
PMCID: PMC3964576  PMID: 24672115
J-LAP; hyperlipidemia; lipid-lowering therapy; guidelines; achievement rates for management goals; HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors; statins
7.  Lipid-lowering therapy: who can benefit? 
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death in the US. Despite the decline in CVD-associated mortality rates in recent years, coronary heart disease (CHD) still causes one in every six deaths in this country. Because most CHD risk factors are modifiable (eg, smoking, hypertension, obesity, onset of type 2 diabetes, and dyslipidemia), cardiovascular risk can be reduced by timely and appropriate interventions, such as smoking cessation, diet and lifestyle changes, and lipid-modifying therapy. Dyslipidemia, manifested by elevated low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), is central to the development and progression of atherosclerosis, which can be silent for decades before triggering a first major cardiovascular event. Consequently, dyslipidemia has become a primary target of intervention in strategies for the prevention of cardiovascular events. The guidelines of the Adult Treatment Panel (ATP) III, updated in 2004, recommend therapeutic lifestyle changes and the use of lipid-lowering medications, such as statins, to achieve specific LDL-C goals based on a person’s global cardiovascular risk. For high-risk individuals, such as patients with CHD and diabetic patients without CHD, an LDL-C target of < 100 mg/dL is recommended, and statin therapy should be considered to help patients achieve this goal. If correctly dosed in appropriate patients, currently approved statins are generally safe and provide significant cardiovascular benefits in diverse populations, including women, the elderly, and patients with diabetes. A recent primary prevention trial also showed that statins benefit individuals traditionally not considered at high risk of CHD, such as those with no hyperlipidemia but elevated C-reactive protein. Additional evidence suggests that statins may halt or slow atherosclerotic disease progression. Recent evidence confirms the pivotal role of statins in primary and secondary prevention.
doi:10.2147/VHRM.S23113
PMCID: PMC3166192  PMID: 21915170
atherosclerosis; coronary heart disease; dyslipidemia; lipid lowering; primary prevention; statin therapy
8.  Direct-To-Consumer Television Advertising Exposure, Diagnosis with High Cholesterol, and Statin Use 
ABSTRACT
BACKGROUND
While statin drugs are recommended for secondary prevention of coronary heart disease (CHD), there is no medical consensus on whether or not a statin should be added to lifestyle change efforts for primary prevention of CHD. Previous research suggests that exposure to direct-to-consumer advertising (DTCA) increases drug demand among those at comparatively low risk. Research has yet to examine whether individual-level DTCA exposure may influence statin use among men and women at high, moderate, or low risk for future cardiac events.
OBJECTIVE
To determine the relationship between estimated exposure to DTCA for statin drugs and two clinical variables: diagnosis with high cholesterol and statin use.
DESIGN
We used logistic regression to analyze repeated cross-sectional surveys of the United States population, merged with data on the frequency of DTCA appearances on national, cable, and local television, between 2001 and 2007.
PARTICIPANTS
American adults (n = 106,685) aged 18 and older.
MAIN MEASURES
Levels of exposure to statin DTCA, based on ad appearances and TV viewing patterns; self-reports of whether or not a respondent has been diagnosed with high cholesterol, and whether or not a respondent took a statin in the past year.
KEY RESULTS
Adjusting for potential confounders, we estimate that exposure to statin ads increased the odds of being diagnosed with high cholesterol by 16 to 20 %, and increased statin use by 16 to 22 %, among both men and women (p < 0.05). These associations were driven almost exclusively by men and women at low risk for future cardiac events. There was also evidence of a negative association between DTCA exposure and statin use among high-risk women (p < 0.05)
CONCLUSIONS
This study provides new evidence that DTCA may promote over-diagnosis of high cholesterol and over-treatment for populations where risks of statin use may outweigh potential benefits.
doi:10.1007/s11606-013-2379-3
PMCID: PMC3682042  PMID: 23463454
DTCA; direct-to-consumer advertising; statins; cholesterol; screening; treatment
9.  Primary prevention of CVD: treating dyslipidaemia 
BMJ Clinical Evidence  2010;2010:0215.
Introduction
The incidence of dyslipidaemia is high: in 2000, approximately 25% of adults in the USA had total cholesterol greater than 6.2 mmol/L or were taking lipid-lowering medication. Primary prevention in this context is defined as long-term management of people at increased risk but with no clinically overt evidence of CVD — such as acute MI, angina, stroke, and PVD — and who have not undergone revascularisation.
Methods and outcomes
We conducted a systematic review and aimed to answer the following clinical questions: What are the effects of pharmacological cholesterol-lowering interventions in people at low risk (less than 0.6% annual CHD risk); at medium risk (0.6–1.4% annual CHD risk); and at high risk (at least 1.5% annual CHD risk)? What are the effects of reduced or modified fat diet? We searched: Medline, Embase, The Cochrane Library, and other important databases up to December 2009 (Clinical Evidence reviews are updated periodically, please check our website for the most up-to-date version of this review). We included harms alerts from relevant organisations such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
Results
We found 16 systematic reviews, RCTs, or observational studies that met our inclusion criteria. We performed a GRADE evaluation of the quality of evidence for interventions.
Conclusions
In this systematic review we present information relating to the effectiveness and safety of the following interventions: ezetimibe, fibrates, niacin (nicotinic acid), reduced- or modified-fat diet, resins, and statins.
Key Points
Dyslipidaemia, defined as elevated total or low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels, or low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, is an important risk factor for coronary heart disease (CHD) and stroke. The incidence of dyslipidaemia is high: in 2000, approximately 25% of adults in the US had total cholesterol greater than 6.2 mmol/L, or were taking lipid-lowering medication.There is a continuous, graded relationship between the total plasma cholesterol concentration and ischaemic heart disease (IHD) morbidity and mortality. IHD is the leading single cause of death in high-income countries and the second in low- and middle-income countries.Primary prevention in this context is defined as long-term management of people at increased risk, but with no clinically overt evidence of CVD, such as MI, angina, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease, and who have not undergone revascularisation.
Statins have been shown to be highly effective, particularly in treating people at high risk of CHD (at least 1.5% annual risk of CHD). Although effective in people in all risk categories (low risk, medium risk), it seems that the magnitude of benefit is related to the individual's baseline risk of CHD events.
In people at medium risk of CHD (0.6–1.4% annual risk of CHD), fibrates have been shown to reduce the rate of CHD, but not of overall mortality, compared with placebo. We don't know whether resins are beneficial in reducing non-fatal MI and CHD death in people at medium risk of CHD. We found no evidence relating to the effects of niacin (nicotinic acid) in people at medium risk of CHD.We found no evidence that examined the efficacy of niacin, fibrates, or resins in people either at low or high risk of CHD. We found no evidence on the effects of ezetimibe in people at low, medium, or high risk of CHD events.
A reduced- or modified-fat diet may be beneficial in reducing cardiovascular events in people at risk of CHD events.
PMCID: PMC3217758  PMID: 21418693
10.  Using the Coronary Artery Calcium Score to Guide Statin Therapy 
Background
The coronary artery calcium score (CAC) predicts future coronary heart disease (CHD) events and could be used to guide primary prevention interventions, but CAC measurement has costs and exposes patients to low-dose radiation.
Methods and Results
We estimated the cost-effectiveness of measuring CAC and prescribing statin therapy based on the resulting score under a range of assumptions using an established model enhanced with CAC distribution and risk estimates from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA). Ten years of statin treatment for 10,000 55-year-old women with high cholesterol (10-year CHD risk=7.5%) was projected to prevent 32 myocardial infarctions, cause 70 cases of statin-induced myopathy, and add 1,108 years to total life-expectancy. Measuring CAC and targeting statin treatment to the 2,500 women with CAC>0 would provide 45% of the benefit (+501 life-years), but CAC measurement would cost $2.25 million and cause 9 radiation-induced cancers. Treat All was preferable to CAC screening in this scenario and across a broad range of other scenarios (CHD risk=2.5-15%) when statin assumptions were favorable ($0.13/pill and no quality of life penalty). When statin assumptions were less favorable ($1.00/pill and disutility=0.00384), CAC screening with statin treatment for persons with CAC>0 was cost-effective (<$50,000/quality-adjusted life-year) in this scenario, in 55-year old men with CHD risk=7.5%, and in other intermediate risk scenarios (CHD risk=5-10%). Our results were critically sensitive to statin cost and disutility, and relatively robust to other assumptions. Alternate CAC treatment thresholds (>100 or >300) were generally not cost-effective.
Conclusions
CAC testing in intermediate risk patients can be cost-effective, but only if statins are costly or significantly impact quality of life.
doi:10.1161/CIRCOUTCOMES.113.000799
PMCID: PMC4156513  PMID: 24619318
coronary; atherosclerosis; economics; calcium; statins
11.  Effects on Coronary Heart Disease of Increasing Polyunsaturated Fat in Place of Saturated Fat: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials 
PLoS Medicine  2010;7(3):e1000252.
Dariush Mozaffarian and colleagues conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis to investigate the effect of consuming polyunsaturated fats in place of saturated fats for lowering the risk of coronary heart disease.
Background
Reduced saturated fat (SFA) consumption is recommended to reduce coronary heart disease (CHD), but there is an absence of strong supporting evidence from randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of clinical CHD events and few guidelines focus on any specific replacement nutrient. Additionally, some public health groups recommend lowering or limiting polyunsaturated fat (PUFA) consumption, a major potential replacement for SFA.
Methods and Findings
We systematically investigated and quantified the effects of increased PUFA consumption, as a replacement for SFA, on CHD endpoints in RCTs. RCTs were identified by systematic searches of multiple online databases through June 2009, grey literature sources, hand-searching related articles and citations, and direct contacts with experts to identify potentially unpublished trials. Studies were included if they randomized participants to increased PUFA for at least 1 year without major concomitant interventions, had an appropriate control group, and reported incidence of CHD (myocardial infarction and/or cardiac death). Inclusions/exclusions were adjudicated and data were extracted independently and in duplicate by two investigators and included population characteristics, control and intervention diets, follow-up duration, types of events, risk ratios, and SEs. Pooled effects were calculated using inverse-variance-weighted random effects meta-analysis. From 346 identified abstracts, eight trials met inclusion criteria, totaling 13,614 participants with 1,042 CHD events. Average weighted PUFA consumption was 14.9% energy (range 8.0%–20.7%) in intervention groups versus 5.0% energy (range 4.0%–6.4%) in controls. The overall pooled risk reduction was 19% (RR = 0.81, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.70–0.95, p = 0.008), corresponding to 10% reduced CHD risk (RR = 0.90, 95% CI = 0.83–0.97) for each 5% energy of increased PUFA, without evidence for statistical heterogeneity (Q-statistic p = 0.13; I2 = 37%). Meta-regression identified study duration as an independent determinant of risk reduction (p = 0.017), with studies of longer duration showing greater benefits.
Conclusions
These findings provide evidence that consuming PUFA in place of SFA reduces CHD events in RCTs. This suggests that rather than trying to lower PUFA consumption, a shift toward greater population PUFA consumption in place of SFA would significantly reduce rates of CHD.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the leading cause of death among adults in developed countries. It is caused by disease of the coronary arteries, the blood vessels that supply the heart with oxygen and nutrients. With age, inflammatory deposits (atherosclerotic plaques) coat the walls of these arteries and restrict the heart's blood supply, causing angina (chest pains that are usually relieved by rest), shortness of breath, and, if these plaques rupture or break, heart attacks (myocardial infarctions), which can reduce the heart's function or even be fatal. The key risk factors for CHD are smoking, physical inactivity, and poor diet. Blood cholesterol levels are altered by consuming dietary fats. There are three main types of dietary fats—“saturated” fatty acids (SFA) and unsaturated fatty acids; the latter can be “mono” unsaturated (MUFA) or “poly” unsaturated (PUFA). Eating SFA-rich foods (for example, meat, butter, and cheese) increases the amount of LDL-C in the blood but also increases HDL-C (the “good” cholesterol) and decreases triglycerides. Eating foods that are rich in unsaturated fatty acids (for example, vegetable oils and fatty fish) decreases the amount of LDL-C and triglycerides in the blood and also raises HDL-C.
Why Was This Study Done?
Because of the connection between eating SFA and high blood LDL-C levels, reduced SFA consumption is recommended as a way to avoid CHD. However, the evidence from individual randomized controlled trials that have studied CHD events (such as heart attacks and CHD-related deaths) have been mixed and could not support this recommendation. Furthermore, dietary recommendations to reduce SFA have generally not specified any replacement, i.e., whether SFA should be replaced with carbohydrate, protein, or unsaturated fats. Because of their beneficial effects on blood LDL-C and HDL-C levels, PUFA could be one important replacement for SFA, but, surprisingly, some experts argue that eating PUFA could actually increase CHD risk. Consequently, some guidelines recommend that PUFA consumption should be limited or even reduced. In this systematic review (a study that uses predefined criteria to identify all the research on a specific topic) and meta-analysis (a statistical method for combining the results of several studies) of randomized controlled trials, the researchers assess the impact of increased PUFA consumption as replacement for SFA on CHD events.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers' search of the published literature, “grey” literature (doctoral dissertations, technical reports, and other documents not printed in books and journals), and contacts with relevant experts identified eight trials in which participants were randomized to increase their PUFA intake for at least a year and in which CHD events were reported. 1,042 CHD events were recorded among the 13,614 participants enrolled in these trials. In their meta-analysis, the researchers found that on average the consumption of PUFA accounted for 14.9% of total energy intake in the intervention groups compared with only 5% of total energy intake in the control groups. Participants in the intervention groups had a 19% reduced risk of CHD events compared to participants in the control groups. Put another way, each 5% increase in the proportion of energy obtained from PUFA reduced the risk of CHD events by 10%. Finally, the researchers found that the benefits associated with PUFA consumption increased with longer duration of the trials.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that the replacement of some dietary SFA with PUFA reduces CHD events. Because the trials included in this study looked only at replacing SFA with PUFA, it is not possible from this evidence alone to distinguish between the benefits of reducing SFA and the benefits of increasing PUFA. Furthermore, the small number of trials identified in this study all had design faults, so the risk reductions reported here may be inaccurate. However, other lines of evidence (for example, observational studies that have examined associations between the fat intake of populations and their risk of CHD) also suggest that consumption of PUFA in place of SFA reduces CHD risk. Thus, in the light of these findings, future recommendations to reduce SFA in the diet should stress the importance of replacing SFA with PUFA rather than with other forms of energy, and the current advice to limit PUFA intake should be revised.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000252.
The American Heart Association provides information about all aspects of coronary heart disease for patients, caregivers, and professionals, including advice on dietary fats (in several languages)
The UK National Health Service Choices Web site provides information about coronary heart disease
Eatwell, a resource provided by the UK Food Standards Agency, gives advice on all aspects of healthy eating, including fat consumption
MedlinePlus provides links to further resources on coronary heart disease and on cholesterol (in English and Spanish)
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000252
PMCID: PMC2843598  PMID: 20351774
12.  Analysing Recent Socioeconomic Trends in Coronary Heart Disease Mortality in England, 2000–2007: A Population Modelling Study 
PLoS Medicine  2012;9(6):e1001237.
A modeling study conducted by Madhavi Bajekal and colleagues estimates the extent to which specific risk factors and changes in uptake of treatment contributed to the declines in coronary heart disease mortality in England between 2000 and 2007, across and within socioeconomic groups.
Background
Coronary heart disease (CHD) mortality in England fell by approximately 6% every year between 2000 and 2007. However, rates fell differentially between social groups with inequalities actually widening. We sought to describe the extent to which this reduction in CHD mortality was attributable to changes in either levels of risk factors or treatment uptake, both across and within socioeconomic groups.
Methods and Findings
A widely used and replicated epidemiological model was used to synthesise estimates stratified by age, gender, and area deprivation quintiles for the English population aged 25 and older between 2000 and 2007. Mortality rates fell, with approximately 38,000 fewer CHD deaths in 2007. The model explained about 86% (95% uncertainty interval: 65%–107%) of this mortality fall. Decreases in major cardiovascular risk factors contributed approximately 34% (21%–47%) to the overall decline in CHD mortality: ranging from about 44% (31%–61%) in the most deprived to 29% (16%–42%) in the most affluent quintile. The biggest contribution came from a substantial fall in systolic blood pressure in the population not on hypertension medication (29%; 18%–40%); more so in deprived (37%) than in affluent (25%) areas. Other risk factor contributions were relatively modest across all social groups: total cholesterol (6%), smoking (3%), and physical activity (2%). Furthermore, these benefits were partly negated by mortality increases attributable to rises in body mass index and diabetes (−9%; −17% to −3%), particularly in more deprived quintiles. Treatments accounted for approximately 52% (40%–70%) of the mortality decline, equitably distributed across all social groups. Lipid reduction (14%), chronic angina treatment (13%), and secondary prevention (11%) made the largest medical contributions.
Conclusions
The model suggests that approximately half the recent CHD mortality fall in England was attributable to improved treatment uptake. This benefit occurred evenly across all social groups. However, opposing trends in major risk factors meant that their net contribution amounted to just over a third of the CHD deaths averted; these also varied substantially by socioeconomic group. Powerful and equitable evidence-based population-wide policy interventions exist; these should now be urgently implemented to effectively tackle persistent inequalities.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Coronary heart disease is a chronic medical condition in which the blood vessels supplying the heart muscle become narrowed or even blocked by fatty deposits on the inner linings of the blood vessels—a process known as arthrosclerosis; this restricts blood flow to the heart, and if the blood vessels completely occlude, it may cause a heart attack. Lifestyle behaviors, such as unhealthy diets high in saturated fat, smoking, and physical inactivity, are the main risk factors for coronary heart disease, so efforts to reduce this condition are directed towards these factors. Global rates of coronary heart disease are increasing and the World Health Organization estimates that by 2030, it will be the biggest cause of death worldwide. However, in high-income countries, such as England, deaths due to coronary heart disease have actually fallen substantially over the past few decades with an accelerated reduction in annual death rates since 2000.
Why Was This Study Done?
Socioeconomic factors play an important role in chronic diseases such as coronary heart disease, with mortality rates almost twice as high in deprived than affluent areas. However, the potential effect of population-wide interventions on reducing inequalities in deaths from coronary heart disease remains unclear. So in this study, the researchers investigated the role of behavioral (changing lifestyle) and medical (treatments) management of coronary heart disease that contributed to the decrease in deaths in England for the period 2000–2007, within and between socioeconomic groups.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers used a well-known, tried and tested epidemiological model (IMPACT) but adapted it to include socioeconomic inequalities to analyze the total population of England aged 25 and older in 2000 and in 2007. The researchers included all the major risk factors for coronary heart disease plus 45 current medical and surgical treatments in their model. They used the Index of Multiple Deprivation 2007 as a proxy indicator of socioeconomic circumstances of residents in neighborhoods. Using the postal code of residence, the researchers matched deaths from, and patients treated for, coronary heart disease to the corresponding deprivation category (quintile). Changes in risk factor levels in each quintile were also calculated using the Health Survey for England. Using their model, the researchers calculated the total number of deaths prevented or postponed for each deprivation quintile by measuring the difference between observed deaths in 2007 and expected deaths based on 2000 data, if age, sex, and deprivation quintile death rates had remained the same.
The researchers found that between 2000 and 2007, death rates from coronary heart disease fell from 229 to 147 deaths per 100,000—a decrease of 36%. Both death rates and the number of deaths were lowest in the most affluent quintile and the pace of fall was also faster, decreasing by 6.7% per year compared to just 4.9% in the most deprived quintile. Furthermore, the researchers found that overall, about half of the decrease in death rates was attributable to improvements in uptake of medical and surgical treatments. The contribution of medical treatments to the deaths averted was very similar across all quintiles, ranging from 50% in the most affluent quintile to 53% in the most deprived. Risk factor changes accounted for approximately a third fewer deaths in 2007 than occurred in 2000, but were responsible for a smaller proportion of deaths prevented in the most affluent quintile compared with the most deprived (approximately 29% versus 44%, respectively). However, the benefits of improvements in blood pressure, cholesterol, smoking, and physical activity were partly negated by rises in body mass index and diabetes, particularly in more deprived quintiles.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that approximately half the recent substantial fall in deaths from coronary heart disease in England was attributable to improved treatment uptake across all social groups; this is consistent with equitable service delivery across the UK's National Health Service. However, opposing trends in major risk factors, which varied substantially by socioeconomic group, meant that their net contribution accounted for just a third of deaths averted. Other countries have implemented effective, evidence-based interventions to tackle lifestyle risk factors; the most powerful measures involve legislation, regulation, taxation, or subsidies, all of which tend to be equitable. Such measures should be urgently implemented in England to effectively tackle persistent inequalities in deaths due to coronary heart disease.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001237.
The World Health Organization has information about the global statistics of coronary heart disease
The National Heart Lung and Blood Institute provides a patient-friendly description of coronary heart disease
The National Heart Forum is the leading UK organization facilitating the prevention of coronary heart disease and other chronic diseases
The British Heart Foundation supports research and promotes preventative activity
Heart of Mersey is the UK's largest regional organization promoting the prevention of coronary heart disease and other chronic diseases
More information about the social determinants of health is available from WHO
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001237
PMCID: PMC3373639  PMID: 22719232
13.  Potential population impact of the UK government strategy for reducing the burden of coronary heart disease in England: comparing primary and secondary prevention strategies 
Quality & Safety in Health Care  2006;15(5):339-343.
Objective
To use population impact measures to help prioritise the National Service Framework (NSF) strategies recommended by the UK government for reducing the population burden of coronary heart disease (CHD).
Design
Modelling study.
Setting
Primary care.
Data sources
Published data on incidence, baseline risk and prevalence of risk factors for CHD and the proportion treated, eligible for treatment, and adhering to the different interventions. Data from meta‐analyses and systematic reviews for relative risk and relative risk reduction associated with different risk factors and interventions.
Main outcome measures
Population impact measures for the decline in the prevalence of a risk factor and the increased uptake of interventions expressed as number of CHD events prevented in the population.
Results
If lifestyle targets for primary prevention are met, 73 522 (95% CI 54 117 to 95 826) CHD events would be prevented per year, with the greatest gain coming from reduced cholesterol and blood pressure levels. In those at high risk of developing CHD, achieving target levels for lifestyle interventions would prevent 4410 (95% CI 1 993 to 8014) CHD events and for pharmacological treatments 2008 (95% CI 790 to 3627) CHD events. For patients with established CHD, achieving NSF targets will result in the prevention of 3067 (95% CI 1572 to 5878) CHD events through improved drug treatment and 1103 (95% CI 179 to 2097) events through lifestyle interventions.
Conclusion
Current strategies focus largely on secondary prevention, but many more cardiovascular events would be prevented by meeting the government's public health and primary prevention targets than targeting people at high risk or those with established heart disease.
doi:10.1136/qshc.2005.017061
PMCID: PMC2565818  PMID: 17074870
coronary heart disease; population impact measures; primary prevention; secondary prevention; lifestyle interventions; government policy
14.  Low prevalence of lipid lowering drug use in older men with established coronary heart disease 
Heart  2002;88(1):25-29.
Objective: To determine the prevalence and correlates of lipid lowering drug use among older British men with established coronary heart disease (CHD).
Design: Cross sectional survey within a cohort study (British regional heart study) carried out at 20 years of follow up in 1998–2000.
Setting: General practices in 24 British towns.
Participants: 3689 men aged 60–75 years (response rate 76%).
Main outcome measures: Diagnoses of myocardial infarction and angina based on detailed review of general practice records. Lipid lowering drug use and blood cholesterol concentrations ascertained at 20 year follow up examination.
Results: Among 286 men with definite myocardial infarction, 102 (36%) were taking a lipid lowering drug (93 (33%) a statin); among 360 men with definite angina without myocardial infarction, 84 (23%) were taking a lipid lowering drug (78 (21%) a statin). Most men with documented CHD who were not receiving a lipid lowering drug had a total cholesterol concentration of 5.0 mmol/l or more (87% of those with myocardial infarction, 82% with angina). Fewer than half of men with CHD receiving a statin had a total cholesterol concentration below 5.0 mmol/l (45% of those with myocardial infarction and 47% of those with angina). Only one third of the men taking a statin were receiving trial validated dosages. Among men with CHD, a history of revascularisation, more recent diagnosis, and younger age at diagnosis were associated with a higher probability of receiving lipid lowering drug treatment.
Conclusion: Among patients with established CHD, the prevalence of lipid lowering drug use remains low and statin regimens suboptimal. Major improvements in secondary prevention are essential if the benefits of statins are to be realised.
PMCID: PMC1767195  PMID: 12067936
statins; lipid lowering drugs; coronary heart disease; survey
15.  Renal Function and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in General Populations: New Prospective Study and Systematic Review 
PLoS Medicine  2007;4(9):e270.
Background
End-stage chronic kidney disease is associated with striking excesses of cardiovascular mortality, but it is uncertain to what extent renal function is related to risk of subsequent coronary heart disease (CHD) in apparently healthy adults. This study aims to quantify the association of markers of renal function with CHD risk in essentially general populations.
Methods and Findings
Estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) was calculated using standard prediction equations based on serum creatinine measurements made in 2,007 patients diagnosed with nonfatal myocardial infarction or coronary death during follow-up and in 3,869 people without CHD in the Reykjavik population-based cohort of 18,569 individuals. There were small and nonsignificant odds ratios (ORs) for CHD risk over most of the range in eGFR, except in the lowest category of the lowest fifth (corresponding to values of <60 ml/min/1.73m2), in which the OR was 1.33 (95% confidence interval 1.01–1.75) after adjustment for several established cardiovascular risk factors. Findings from the Reykjavik study were reinforced by a meta-analysis of six previous reports (identified in electronic and other databases) involving a total of 4,720 incident CHD cases (including Reykjavik), which yielded a combined risk ratio of 1.41 (95% confidence interval 1.19–1.68) in individuals with baseline eGFR less than 60 ml/min/1.73m2 compared with those with higher values.
Conclusions
Although there are no strong associations between lower-than-average eGFR and CHD risk in apparently healthy adults over most of the range in renal function, there may be a moderate increase in CHD risk associated with very low eGFR (i.e., renal dysfunction) in the general population. These findings could have implications for the further understanding of CHD and targeting cardioprotective interventions.
John Danesh and colleagues conclude there may be a moderate increase in risk of coronary heart disease associated with very low estimated glomerular filtration rate.
Editors' Summary
Background.
Coronary heart disease (CHD), the leading cause of death in most Western countries, is a “cardiovascular” disease—literally a disorder affecting the heart and/or blood vessels. In CHD, the blood vessels that supply the heart become increasingly narrow. Eventually, the flow of blood to the heart slows or stops, causing chest pains (angina), breathlessness, and heart attacks. Many factors increase the risk of developing CHD and other cardiovascular diseases, including high blood pressure, high blood levels of cholesterol (a type of fat), or being overweight. Individuals can reduce their chances of developing cardiovascular disease by taking drugs to reduce their blood pressure or cholesterol levels or by making lifestyle changes (so-called cardioprotective interventions). Another important risk factor for cardiovascular disease is end-stage chronic kidney disease (CKD), a condition in which the kidneys stop working. (In healthy people, the kidneys remove waste products and excess fluid from the body.) People with end-stage CKD (which is treated by dialysis) have about a five times higher risk of dying from cardiovascular disease compared with healthy people.
Why Was This Study Done?
End-stage CKD is preceded by a gradual loss of kidney function. There is a clear association between non-dialysis–dependent CKD and the incidence of cardiovascular events (such as heart attacks) in people who already have signs of cardiovascular disease. But are people with slightly dysfunctional kidneys (often because of increasing age) but without any obvious cardiovascular disease at greater risk of developing cardiovascular diseases than people with fully functional kidneys? If the answer is yes, it might be possible to reduce CHD deaths by minimizing the exposure of people with CKD to other risk factors for cardiovascular disease. In this study, the researchers have taken two approaches to answer this question. In a population-based study, they have examined whether there is any association in healthy adults between kidney function measured at the start of the study and incident CHD (the first occurrence of CHD) over subsequent years. In addition, they have systematically searched the published literature for similar studies and combined the results of these studies using statistical methods, a so-called “meta-analysis.”
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
Between 1967 and 1991, nearly 19,000 middle-aged men and women without a history of heart attacks living in Reykjavik, Iceland, enrolled in a prospective study of cardiovascular disease. Baseline blood samples were taken at enrollment and the participants' health monitored for 20 years on average. The researchers identified 2,007 participants who suffered a nonfatal heart attack or died of CHD during follow-up and 3,869 who remained disease free. They then calculated the estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR; a measure of kidney function) for each participant from baseline creatinine measurements (creatinine is a muscle waste product). There was no association between lower-than-average eGFRs and the risk of developing CHD over most of the range of eGFR values. However, people whose eGFR was below approximately 60 units had about a 40% higher risk of developing CHD after allowing for established cardiovascular risk factors than individuals with higher eGFRs. This finding was confirmed by the meta-analysis of six previous studies, which included a further 2,700 incident CHD cases.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that people with an eGFR below about 60 units (the cut-off used to define CKD) may have an increased risk of developing CHD. They also indicate a nonliner association between kidney function and CHD risk. That is, any association with CHD became evident only when the eGFR dropped below about 60 units. These findings need confirming in different ethnic groups and by using more accurate methods to measure eGFRs. Nevertheless, they suggest that improving kidney function across the board is unlikely to have much effect on the overall incidence of CHD. Instead, they suggest that targeting cardioprotective interventions at the one in ten adults in Western countries whose eGFR is below 60 units might be a good way to reduce the burden of CHD.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0040270.
MedlinePlus encyclopedia pages on coronary heart disease, chronic kidney failure, and end-stage kidney disease (in English and Spanish).
Information for patients and carers from the American Heart Association on all aspects of heart disease, including prevention of CHD
Information from the British Heart Foundation on heart disease and on keeping the heart healthy
Information on chronic kidney disease from the US National Kidney Foundation, and the US National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearing House (in English and Spanish)
Information on chronic kidney disease from the UK National Kidney Foundation
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0040270
PMCID: PMC1961630  PMID: 17803353
16.  Analysing falls in coronary heart disease mortality in the West Bank between 1998 and 2009 
BMJ Open  2012;2(4):e001061.
Objectives
To analyse coronary heart disease (CHD) mortality and risk factor trends in the West Bank, occupied Palestinian territory between 1998 and 2009.
Design
Modelling study using CHD IMPACT model.
Setting
The West Bank, occupied Palestinian territory.
Participants
Data on populations, mortality, patient groups and numbers, treatments and cardiovascular risk factor trends were obtained from national and local surveys, routine national and WHO statistics, and critically appraised. Data were then integrated and analysed using a previously validated CHD model.
Primary and secondary outcome measures
CHD deaths prevented or postponed are the main outcome.
Results
CHD death rates fell by 20% in the West Bank, between 1998 and 2009. Smoking prevalence was initially high in men, 51%, but decreased to 42%. Population blood pressure levels and total cholesterol levels also decreased. Conversely, body mass index rose by 1–2 kg/m2 and diabetes increased by 2–8%. Population modelling suggested that more than two-thirds of the mortality fall was attributable to decreases in major risk factors, mainly total cholesterol, blood pressure and smoking. Approximately one-third of the CHD mortality decreases were attributable to treatments, particularly for secondary prevention and heart failure. However, the contributions from statins, surgery and angioplasty were consistently small.
Conclusions
CHD mortality fell by 20% between 1998 and 2009 in the West Bank. More than two-third of this fall was due to decreases in major risk factors, particularly total cholesterol and blood pressure. Our results clearly indicate that risk factor reductions in the general population compared save substantially more lives to specific treatments for individual patients. This emphasizes the importance of population-wide primary prevention strategies.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2012-001061
PMCID: PMC3432845  PMID: 22923626
Cardiology; Cardiac Epidemiology; Cardiology; Myocardial infarction; Epidemiology; Public Health; Surgery; Cardiac surgery
17.  Long-Term Interleukin-6 Levels and Subsequent Risk of Coronary Heart Disease: Two New Prospective Studies and a Systematic Review 
PLoS Medicine  2008;5(4):e78.
Background
The relevance to coronary heart disease (CHD) of cytokines that govern inflammatory cascades, such as interleukin-6 (IL-6), may be underestimated because such mediators are short acting and prone to fluctuations. We evaluated associations of long-term circulating IL-6 levels with CHD risk (defined as nonfatal myocardial infarction [MI] or fatal CHD) in two population-based cohorts, involving serial measurements to enable correction for within-person variability. We updated a systematic review to put the new findings in context.
Methods and Findings
Measurements were made in samples obtained at baseline from 2,138 patients who had a first-ever nonfatal MI or died of CHD during follow-up, and from 4,267 controls in two cohorts comprising 24,230 participants. Correction for within-person variability was made using data from repeat measurements taken several years apart in several hundred participants. The year-to-year variability of IL-6 values within individuals was relatively high (regression dilution ratios of 0.41, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.28–0.53, over 4 y, and 0.35, 95% CI 0.23–0.48, over 12 y). Ignoring this variability, we found an odds ratio for CHD, adjusted for several established risk factors, of 1.46 (95% CI 1.29–1.65) per 2 standard deviation (SD) increase of baseline IL-6 values, similar to that for baseline C-reactive protein. After correction for within-person variability, the odds ratio for CHD was 2.14 (95% CI 1.45–3.15) with long-term average (“usual”) IL-6, similar to those for some established risk factors. Increasing IL-6 levels were associated with progressively increasing CHD risk. An updated systematic review of electronic databases and other sources identified 15 relevant previous population-based prospective studies of IL-6 and clinical coronary outcomes (i.e., MI or coronary death). Including the two current studies, the 17 available prospective studies gave a combined odds ratio of 1.61 (95% CI 1.42–1.83) per 2 SD increase in baseline IL-6 (corresponding to an odds ratio of 3.34 [95% CI 2.45–4.56] per 2 SD increase in usual [long-term average] IL-6 levels).
Conclusions
Long-term IL-6 levels are associated with CHD risk about as strongly as are some major established risk factors, but causality remains uncertain. These findings highlight the potential relevance of IL-6–mediated pathways to CHD.
John Danesh and colleagues show that long-term IL-6 levels are associated with coronary heart disease risk, thus highlighting the potential relevance of IL-6−mediated pathways to coronary heart disease.
Editors' Summary
Background.
Coronary heart disease (CHD), the leading cause of death among adults in developed countries, kills one person in the US every minute. With age, “atherosclerotic plaques”—deposits of fats, calcium, and various cellular waste products—coat the walls of arteries, causing them to narrow and harden, interrupting blood flow through the body. When this occurs in the coronary arteries, which nourish the heart muscle, the end result is CHD. If a plaque breaks off the artery wall, it can get trapped in the arteries and completely stop the blood flow, causing death of the heart muscle. The technical term for this is “myocardial infarction” (MI), although it is more commonly known as a heart attack. Smoking, high blood pressure, high blood levels of cholesterol (a type of fat), being overweight, and being physically inactive all increase the risk of developing CHD, as do some inherited factors. Treatments for CHD include lifestyle changes (for example, losing weight and exercising regularly) and medications that lower blood pressure and blood cholesterol. In the worst cases, the narrowed artery can be widened using a device called a stent or surgically bypassed.
Why Was This Study Done?
Atherosclerosis might, at least partly, be an inflammatory condition. Inflammation—an immune response to injury characterized by swelling and redness—involves the production of proteins called “cytokines,” which attract cells of the immune system to the site of injury. In atherosclerosis, damage to the artery walls seems to trigger inflammation, which helps the atherosclerotic plaques grow. Because of the potential involvement of inflammation in atherosclerosis, increased levels of circulating cytokines might be associated with an increased risk of CHD. If they are, cytokines might provide a new therapeutic target for the treatment of CHD. In this study, the researchers have asked whether prolonged moderate increases in the cytokine interleukin-6 (IL-6) in the bloodstream are associated with CHD risk. IL-6, which is produced very early in inflammation, survives only briefly in the human body and its levels fluctuate within individuals. Consequently, its relevance to CHD has been unclear in previous studies.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
Between 1967 and 1991, nearly 25,000 healthy, mainly middle-aged people were enrolled into two studies—the Reykjavik Study and the British Regional Heart Study—and followed for about 20 years, during which time 2,138 people had a first-ever nonfatal heart attack or died of CHD. The researchers measured baseline IL-6 blood levels in these participants and in 4,267 similar participants who had not had a CHD event. They also measured IL-6 levels in 558 healthy participants several years into the study to determine a “regression dilution ratio” for IL-6. This ratio gives an idea of the year-to-year consistency of IL-6 levels. When the researchers used this ratio to estimate the impact of prolonged increases in IL-6 levels on CHD, they found that increased long-term IL-6 levels more than doubled the risk for CHD in their study populations. The researchers then combined these new results with those of 15 previous relevant studies. This combined analysis indicated very similar findings to those in the new data.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate prolonged moderate increases in IL-6 levels are associated with risk of CHD as strongly as several major established risk factors, including blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels, but whether there is a cause-and-effect relationship remains unknown. More studies are needed to find out whether this result is generalisable to other populations, but the broad agreement between the Icelandic and British studies suggests that they should be. This study renews interest in IL-6–mediated inflammatory pathways and CHD.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0050078.
Read a related PLoS Medicine Perspective article
The MedlinePlus encyclopedia has pages on coronary heart disease and atherosclerosis (in English and Spanish)
Information is available from the US National Heart Lung and Blood Institute on coronary heart disease and atherosclerosis
Information for patients and caregivers is provided by the American Heart Association on all aspects of heart disease, including inflammation and heart disease
Information is available from the British Heart Foundation on heart disease and on keeping the heart healthy
Further details are available about the Reykjavik Study and the British Regional Heart Study
Wikipedia has pages on inflammation and on interleukin-6 (note that Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit; available in several languages)
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0050078
PMCID: PMC2288623  PMID: 18399716
18.  Explaining the decline in coronary heart disease mortality in Turkey between 1995 and 2008 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:1135.
Background
Coronary heart disease (CHD) mortality rates have been decreasing in Turkey since the early 1990s. Our study aimed to determine how much of the CHD mortality decrease in Turkey between 1995 and 2008 could be attributed to temporal trends in major risk factors and how much to advances in medical and surgical treatments.
Methods
The validated IMPACT CHD mortality model was used to combine and analyse data on uptake and effectiveness of CHD treatments and risk factor trends in Turkey in adults aged 35–84 years between 1995 and 2008.
Data sources were identified, searched and appraised on population, mortality and major CHD risk factors for adults those aged 35–84 years. Official statistics, electronic databases, national registers, surveys and published trials were screened from 1995 onwards.
Results
Between 1995 and 2008, coronary heart disease mortality rates in Turkey decreased by 34% in men and 28% in women 35 years and over. This resulted in 35,720 fewer deaths in 2008.
Approximately 47% of this mortality decrease was attributed to treatments in individuals (including approximately 16% to secondary prevention, 3% angina treatments, 9% to heart failure treatments, 5% to initial treatments of acute myocardial infarction, and 5% to hypertension treatments) and approximately 42% was attributable to population risk factor reductions (notably blood pressure 29%; smoking 27%; and cholesterol 1%). Adverse trends were seen for obesity and diabetes (potentially increasing mortality by approximately 11% and 14% respectively). The model explained almost 90% of the mortality fall.
Conclusion
Reduction in major cardiovascular risk factors explained approximately 42% and improvements in medical and surgical treatments explained some 47% of the CHD mortality fall. These findings emphasize the complimentary value of primary prevention and evidence-based medical treatments in controlling coronary heart disease.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-1135
PMCID: PMC4234124  PMID: 24308515
Coronary heart disease; Coronary heart disease mortality; Coronary heart disease risk factors; Coronary heart disease management; Turkey; Modelling
19.  Primary prevention of CVD: treating dyslipidaemia 
BMJ Clinical Evidence  2008;2008:0215.
Introduction
The incidence of dyslipidaemia is high: in 2000, approximately 25% of adults in the USA had total cholesterol greater than 6.2 mmol/L or were taking lipid-lowering medication. Primary prevention in this context is defined as long-term management of people at increased risk but with no clinically overt evidence of CVD — such as acute MI, angina, stroke, and PVD — and who have not undergone revascularisation.
Methods and outcomes
We conducted a systematic review and aimed to answer the following clinical questions: What are the effects of pharmacological cholesterol-lowering interventions in people at low risk (less than 0.6% annual CHD risk); at medium risk (0.6-1.4% annual CHD risk); and at high risk (at least 1.5% annual CHD risk)? What are the effects of reduced or modified fat diet? We searched: Medline, Embase, The Cochrane Library and other important databases up to March 2006 (BMJ Clinical Evidence reviews are updated periodically, please check our website for the most up-to-date version of this review). We included harms alerts from relevant organisations such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
Results
We found 15 systematic reviews, RCTs, or observational studies that met our inclusion criteria. We performed a GRADE evaluation of the quality of evidence for interventions.
Conclusions
In this systematic review we present information relating to the effectiveness and safety of the following interventions: fibrates, niacin, reduced- or modified-fat diet, resins, and statins.
Key Points
Dyslipidaemia, defined as elevated total or low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels, or low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, is an important risk factor for coronary heart disease (CHD) and stroke. The incidence of dyslipidaemia is high: in 2000, approximately 25% of adults in the US had total cholesterol greater than 6.2 mmol/L, or were taking lipid-lowering medication.There is a continuous, graded relationship between the total plasma cholesterol concentration and ischaemic heart disease (IHD) morbidity and mortality. IHD is the leading single cause of death in high-income countries and second in low- and middle-income countries.Primary prevention in this context is defined as long-term management of people at increased risk, but with no clinically overt evidence of CVD, such as MI, angina, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease, and who have not undergone revascularisation.
Statins have been shown to be highly effective, particularly in treating people at high risk of CHD (more than 1.5% annually). Although effective in people in all risk categories (low risk, medium risk) , it appears that the magnitude of benefit is related to the individual's baseline risk of CHD events.
In people at medium risk of CHD (0.6%-1.4% annually), fibrates have been shown to effectively reduce the rate of CHD, but not of overall mortality, compared with placebo. Resins may also be beneficial in reducing non-fatal MI and CHD death in this group, but we found no evidence relating to the effects of niacin.We found no evidence that examined the efficacy of niacin, fibrates, or resins in people either at low or high risk of CHD.
The effectiveness of reduced-fat diets to reduce cardiovascular events in primary prevention is unclear.
PMCID: PMC2907953  PMID: 19450334
20.  Implementation of case management to reduce cardiovascular disease risk in the Stanford and San Mateo Heart to Heart randomized controlled trial: study protocol and baseline characteristics 
Background
Case management has emerged as a promising alternative approach to supplement traditional one-on-one sessions between patients and doctors for improving the quality of care in chronic diseases such as coronary heart disease (CHD). However, data are lacking in terms of its efficacy and cost-effectiveness when implemented in ethnic and low-income populations.
Methods
The Stanford and San Mateo Heart to Heart (HTH) project is a randomized controlled clinical trial designed to rigorously evaluate the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of a multi-risk cardiovascular case management program in low-income, primarily ethnic minority patients served by a local county health care system in California. Randomization occurred at the patient level. The primary outcome measure is the absolute CHD risk over 10 years. Secondary outcome measures include adherence to guidelines on CHD prevention practice. We documented the study design, methodology, and baseline sociodemographic, clinical and lifestyle characteristics of 419 participants.
Results
We achieved equal distributions of the sociodemographic, biophysical and lifestyle characteristics between the two randomization groups. HTH participants had a mean age of 56 years, 63% were Latinos/Hispanics, 65% female, 61% less educated, and 62% were not employed. Twenty percent of participants reported having a prior cardiovascular event. 10-year CHD risk averaged 18% in men and 13% in women despite a modest low-density lipoprotein cholesterol level and a high on-treatment percentage at baseline. Sixty-three percent of participants were diagnosed with diabetes and an additional 22% had metabolic syndrome. In addition, many participants had depressed high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels and elevated values of total cholesterol-to-HDL ratio, triglycerides, triglyceride-to-HDL ratio, and blood pressure. Furthermore, nearly 70% of participants were obese, 45% had a family history of CHD or stroke, and 16% were current smokers.
Conclusion
We have recruited an ethnically diverse, low-income cohort in which to implement a case management approach and test its efficacy and cost-effectiveness. HTH will advance the scientific understanding of better strategies for CHD prevention among these priority subpopulations and aid in guiding future practice that will reduce health disparities.
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-1-21
PMCID: PMC1592109  PMID: 17005050
21.  Statin under-use and low prevalence of LDL-C control among U.S. adults at high risk of coronary heart disease 
Background
Statins reduce the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) in individuals with a history of CHD or risk equivalents. A 10-year CHD risk >20% is considered a risk equivalent but is frequently not detected. Statin use and low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) control were examined among participants with CHD or risk equivalents in the nationwide Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) study (n=8,812).
Methods
Participants were categorized into 4 mutually exclusive groups: (1) history of CHD (n=4,025), (2) no history of CHD but with a history of stroke and/or abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) (n=946), (3) no history of CHD or stroke/AAA but with diabetes mellitus (n=3,134), or (4) no history of the conditions in (1) through (3) but with 10-year Framingham CHD risk score (FRS) >20% calculated using the ATP-III point scoring system (n=707).
Results
Statins were used by 58.4% of those in the CHD group and 41.7%, 40.4%, and 20.1% of those in the stroke/AAA, diabetes, and FRS>20% groups, respectively. Among those taking statins, 65.1% had LDL-C <100mg/dL, with no difference between the CHD, stroke/AAA, or diabetes groups. However, compared to those in the CHD group, LDL-C <100mg/dL was less common among participants in the FRS>20% group (multivariable adjusted prevalence ratio: 0.72; 95% CI: 0.62 – 0.85). Results were similar using the 2013 ACC/AHA cholesterol treatment guideline.
Conclusions
These data suggest many people with high CHD risk, especially those with a FRS>20%, do not receive guideline-concordant lipid-lowering therapy and do not achieve an LDL-C <100mg/dL.
doi:10.1097/MAJ.0000000000000292
PMCID: PMC4108514  PMID: 24892511
cardiovascular disease; risk assessment; prevention; population health; epidemiology
22.  Plasma Phospholipid Fatty Acid Concentration and Incident Coronary Heart Disease in Men and Women: The EPIC-Norfolk Prospective Study 
PLoS Medicine  2012;9(7):e1001255.
Kay-Tee Khaw and colleagues analyze data from a prospective cohort study and show associations between plasma concentrations of saturated phospholipid fatty acids and risk of coronary heart disease, and an inverse association between omega-6 polyunsaturated phospholipid fatty acids and risk of coronary heart disease.
Background
The lack of association found in several cohort studies between dietary saturated fat and coronary heart disease (CHD) risk has renewed debate over the link between dietary fats and CHD.
Methods and Findings
We assessed the relationship between plasma phospholipid fatty acid (PFA) concentration and incident CHD using a nested case control design within a prospective study (EPIC-Norfolk) of 25,639 individuals aged 40–79 years examined in 1993–1997 and followed up to 2009. Plasma PFA concentrations were measured by gas chromatography in baseline samples retrieved from frozen storage. In 2,424 men and women with incident CHD compared with 4,930 controls alive and free of cardiovascular disease, mean follow-up 13 years, saturated PFA (14:0, 16:0,18:0) plasma concentrations were significantly associated with increased CHD risk (odds ratio [OR] 1.75, 95% CI 1.27–2.41, p<0.0001), in top compared to bottom quartiles (Q), and omega-6 polyunsaturated PFA concentrations were inversely related (OR 0.77, 0.60–0.99, p<0.05) after adjusting for age, sex, body mass index, blood pressure, smoking, alcohol intake, plasma vitamin C, social class, education, and other PFAs. Monounsaturated PFA, omega-3 PFA, and trans PFA concentrations were not significantly associated with CHD. Odd chain PFA (15:0, 17:0) concentrations were significantly inversely associated with CHD (OR 0.73, 0.59–0.91, p<0.001, Q4 versus Q1). Within families of saturated PFA or polyunsaturated PFA, significantly heterogeneous relationships with CHD were observed for individual fatty acids.
Conclusions
In this study, plasma concentrations of even chain saturated PFA were found to be positively and omega-6 polyunsaturated PFA inversely related to subsequent coronary heart disease risk. These findings are consistent with accumulating evidence suggesting a protective role of omega-6 fats substituting for saturated fats for CHD prevention.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Coronary heart disease (CHD) is a condition caused by a build-up of fatty deposits on the inner walls of the blood vessels that supply the heart, causing the affected person to experience pain, usually on exertion (angina). A complete occlusion of the vessel by deposits causes a heart attack (myocardial infarction). Lifestyle factors, such as diet (particularly one high in fat), contribute to causing CHD. There are different types of fat, some of which are thought to increase risk of CHD, such as saturated fat, typically found in meat and dairy foods. However, others, such as unsaturated fats (polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats) found in foods such as vegetable oils, fish, and nuts, may actually help prevent this condition.
Why Was This Study Done?
Although there have been many studies investigating the role of different types of dietary fat in coronary heart disease, it is still not clear whether coronary heart disease can be prevented by changing the type of dietary fat consumed from saturated to unsaturated fats or by lowering all types of dietary fat. Furthermore, many of these studies have relied on participants recalling their dietary intake in questionnaires, which is an unreliable method for different fats. So in this study, the researchers used an established UK cohort to measure the levels of different types of fatty acids in blood to investigate whether a diet high in saturated fatty acids and low in unsaturated fatty acids increases CHD risk.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers used a selection of 10,000 participants (all men and women aged 40–79 years) from the prospective European Prospective Investigation into Cancer (EPIC)-Norfolk cohort. Blood samples from the selected participants taken at the start of the study in 1993–1997 were analyzed to determine levels of specific fatty acids. Participants were followed up till 2011. The researchers identified 2,424 participants who were subsequently diagnosed with CHD using death certificates and hospital discharge data and matched these with 4,930 controls who were still alive and free of known coronary disease. The researchers grouped the type of blood fatty acids identified in the blood samples into six families (even chain saturated fatty acid, odd chain saturated fatty acid, omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid, omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid, monounsaturated fatty acid, and trans-fatty acid), which represented saturated and unsaturated fatty acids. Using statistical methods, the researchers then compared the risks of developing CHD between cases and controls by the concentration of fatty acid families after adjusting for age and sex and other factors, such as body mass index, physical activity, and smoking. Using these methods, the researchers found that there was no overall significant relationship between total blood fatty acid concentration and CHD but there was a positive association with increasing blood saturated fatty acid concentration after adjusting for other fatty acid concentrations, with an odds ratio of 1.83 comparing higher versus lower concentrations. This risk was attenuated after adjusting for cholesterol levels, indicating that much of the association between saturated fatty acid and CHD is likely to be mediated through blood cholesterol levels. In contrast, blood omega-6 poly-unsaturated fatty acid concentrations were associated with lower CHD risk. Blood monounsaturated fatty acids, omega-3 poly-unsaturated fatty acids, and trans-fatty acids were not consistently associated with CHD risk. The authors also noted that within families of fatty acids, individual fatty acids related differently to CHD risk.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that plasma concentrations of saturated fatty acids are associated with increased risk of CHD and that concentrations of omega-6 poly-unsaturated fatty acids are associated with decreased risk of CHD. These findings are consistent with other studies and with current dietary advice for preventing CHD, which encourages substituting foods high in saturated fat with n-6 polyunsaturated fats. The results also suggest that different fatty acids may relate differently to CHD risk and that the overall balance between different fatty acids is important. However, there are limitations to this study, such as that factors other than diet (genetic differences in metabolism, for example) may cause changes to blood fatty acid levels so a major question is to identify what factors influence blood fatty acid concentrations. Nevertheless, these findings suggest that individual fatty acids play a role in increasing or decreasing risks of CHD.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001255.
Information about the EPIC-Norfolk study is available
The American Heart Foundation provides patient-friendly information about different dietary fats as does Medline
The British Heart Foundation also provides patient-friendly information on heart conditions
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001255
PMCID: PMC3389034  PMID: 22802735
23.  Cost effectiveness of HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor (statin) treatment related to the risk of coronary heart disease and cost of drug treatment 
Heart  1999;82(3):325-332.
OBJECTIVES—To estimate the cost effectiveness of statin treatment in preventing coronary heart disease (CHD) and to examine the effect of the CHD risk level targeted and the cost of statins on the cost effectiveness of treatment.
DESIGN—Cohort life table method using data from outcome trials.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES—The cost per life year gained for lifelong statin treatment at annual CHD event risks of 4.5% (secondary prevention) and 3.0%, 2.0%, and 1.5% (all primary prevention), with the cost of statins varied from £100 to £800 per year.
RESULTS—The costs per life year gained according to annual CHD event risk were: for 4.5%, £5100; 3.0%, £8200; 2.0%, £10 700; and 1.5%, £12 500. Reducing the cost of statins increases cost effectiveness, and narrows the difference in cost effectiveness across the range of CHD event risks.
CONCLUSIONS—At current prices statin treatment for secondary prevention, and for primary prevention at a CHD event risk 3.0% per year, is as cost effective as many treatments in wide use. Primary prevention at lower CHD event risks (< 3.0% per year) is less cost effective and unlikely to be affordable at current prices and levels of health service funding. As the cost of statins falls, primary prevention at lower risk levels becomes more cost effective. However, the large volume of treatment needed will remain a major problem.


Keywords: coronary artery disease; cost effectiveness; statins; primary prevention; secondary prevention
PMCID: PMC1729169  PMID: 10455083
24.  Diabetes: managing dyslipidaemia 
BMJ Clinical Evidence  2008;2008:0610.
Introduction
Dyslipidaemia is a major contributor to the increased risk of heart disease found in people with diabetes. An increase of 1 mmol/L LDL-C is associated with a 1.57-fold increase in the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) in people with type 2 diabetes. A diagnosis of diabetic dyslipidaemia requiring pharmacological treatment is determined by the person's lipid profile and level of cardiovascular risk.
Methods and outcomes
We conducted a systematic review and aimed to answer the following clinical question: What are the effects of interventions for dyslipidaemia in people with diabetes? We searched: Medline, Embase, The Cochrane Library, and other important databases up to June 2007 (BMJ Clinical Evidence reviews are updated periodically, please check our website for the most up-to-date version of this review). We included harms alerts from relevant organisations such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
Results
We found 21 systematic reviews, RCTs, or observational studies that met our inclusion criteria. We performed a GRADE evaluation of the quality of evidence for interventions.
Conclusions
In this systematic review we present information relating to the effectiveness and safety of the following interventions: anion exchange resins, combined treatments (for lipid modification), ezetimibe, fibrates, fish oil (for lipid modification), intensive multiple intervention treatment programmes (for lipid modification), nicotinic acid (for lipid modification), and statins.
Key Points
Dyslipidaemia is characterised by decreased circulating levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) and increased circulating levels of triglycerides and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C). Dyslipidaemia is a major contributor to the increased risk of heart disease found in people with diabetes.An increase of 1 mmol/L LDL-C is associated with a 1.57-fold increase in the risk of CHD in people with type 2 diabetes.A diagnosis of diabetic dyslipidaemia requiring pharmacological treatment is determined by the person's lipid profile and level of cardiovascular risk. The classification of cardiovascular risk and lipid targets for drug treatment differ between the USA and the UK, and the rest of Europe. We used the United Kingdom Prospective Diabetes Study (UKPDS) risk calculator to estimate 10-year cardiovascular risk, and categorised a 15% or more risk as "higher risk", and 15% or less as "lower risk" according to the UK clinical guidelines. We found no RCTs of a solely lower-risk population, although some studies were excluded because of insufficient data to calculate risk. In clinical practice, most people with diabetes are increasingly considered at high cardiovascular risk, regardless of the presence or absence of other risk factors.
Statins are highly effective at improving cardiovascular outcomes in people with diabetes. Statins reduce cardiovascular mortality in people with type 2 diabetes with and without known CVD, and regardless of baseline total and LDL-C concentrations.Different statins seem to have similar efficacy at reducing LDL-C.
Combining statins with other treatments (such as ezetimibe or a fibrate) seems to reduce LDL-C more than statin treatments alone. Combinations could be useful in people with mixed dyslipidaemia where one drug fails to control all lipid parameters.
Fibrates seem to have a beneficial effect on cardiovascular mortality and morbidity by reducing triglyceride levels. In people with mixed dyslipidaemia, statins may also be required.
Intensive-treatment programmes involving multiple interventions (people seen by a nurse every 4-6 weeks) seem better at reducing cholesterol than usual-care programmes.
Fish oils may reduce triglyceride levels, but also seem to increase LDL-C levels, making them of limited benefit to most diabetic patients.
Nicotinic acid seems effective at increasing HDL-C and may reduce triglycerides. However, in clinical practice, nicotinic acid alone is not the preferred treatment for hypertriglyceridaemia, but may be used in combination with a statin in people with mixed dyslipidaemia, or in those unable to tolerate fibrates. Nicotinic acid seems to increase the incidence of flushing, particularly in female patients.
We don't know whether anion exchange resins or ezetimibe are useful in treating dyslipidaemia in people with diabetes, but they could be used in combination with a statin if the statin alone fails to achieve lipid targets.
PMCID: PMC2907966  PMID: 19450295
25.  The Relationship between Proteinuria and Coronary Risk: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis 
PLoS Medicine  2008;5(10):e207.
Background
Markers of kidney dysfunction such as proteinuria or albuminuria have been reported to be associated with coronary heart disease, but the consistency and strength of any such relationship has not been clearly defined. This lack of clarity has led to great uncertainty as to how proteinuria should be treated in the assessment and management of cardiovascular risk. We therefore undertook a systematic review of published cohort studies aiming to provide a reliable estimate of the strength of association between proteinuria and coronary heart disease.
Methods and Findings
A meta-analysis of cohort studies was conducted to obtain a summary estimate of the association between measures of proteinuria and coronary risk. MEDLINE and EMBASE were searched for studies reporting an age- or multivariate-adjusted estimate and standard error of the association between proteinuria and coronary heart disease. Studies were excluded if the majority of the study population had known glomerular disease or were the recipients of renal transplants. Two independent researchers extracted the estimates of association between proteinuria (total urinary protein >300 mg/d), microalbuminuria (urinary albumin 30–300 mg/d), macroalbuminuria (urinary albumin >300 mg/d), and risk of coronary disease from individual studies. These estimates were combined using a random-effects model. Sensitivity analyses were conducted to examine possible sources of heterogeneity in effect size. A total of 26 cohort studies were identified involving 169,949 individuals and 7,117 coronary events (27% fatal). The presence of proteinuria was associated with an approximate 50% increase in coronary risk (risk ratio 1.47, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.23–1.74) after adjustment for known risk factors. For albuminuria, there was evidence of a dose–response relationship: individuals with microalbuminuria were at 50% greater risk of coronary heart disease (risk ratio 1.47, 95% CI 1.30–1.66) than those without; in those with macroalbuminuria the risk was more than doubled (risk ratio 2.17, 1.87–2.52). Sensitivity analysis indicated no important differences in prespecified subgroups.
Conclusion
These data confirm a strong and continuous association between proteinuria and subsequent risk of coronary heart disease, and suggest that proteinuria should be incorporated into the assessment of an individual's cardiovascular risk.
Vlado Perkovic and colleagues show, through a systematic review and meta-analysis of cohort studies, that there is a strong and continuous association between proteinuria and subsequent risk of coronary heart disease.
Editors' Summary
Background.
Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the leading cause of death among adults in developed countries. With age, fatty deposits called atherosclerotic plaques coat the walls of arteries, the vessels that nourish the organs of the body by carrying blood and oxygen to them. Because they narrow the arteries, atherosclerotic plaques restrict the blood flow to the body's organs. If these plaques form in the arteries that feed the heart muscle (the coronary arteries), the result is CHD. The symptoms of CHD include shortness of breath and chest pains (angina). In addition, if a plaque breaks off the wall of a coronary artery, it can completely block that artery, which kills part of the heart muscle and causes a potentially fatal heart attack. Smoking, high blood pressure, high blood levels of cholesterol (a type of fat), having diabetes, being overweight, and being physically inactive are established risk factors for CHD. Treatments for CHD include lifestyle changes (for example, losing weight) and medications that lower blood pressure and blood cholesterol. The narrowed arteries can also be widened using a device called a stent or surgically bypassed.
Why Was This Study Done?
In addition to the established risk factors for CHD, several other factors may also increase a person's risk of developing CHD, including kidney disease, which affects one in six adults to some degree. An early sign of kidney dysfunction is high amounts of a protein called albumin or of total proteins in the urine (albuminuria and proteinuria, respectively). Some studies have suggested that proteinuria is associated with an increased risk of CHD, but the results of these studies are inconsistent. Consequently, it is unclear whether proteinuria should be considered when assessing and managing an individual's CHD risk. In this study, the researchers undertake a systematic review (a study in which predefined search criteria are used to identify all the research on a specific topic) and a meta-analysis (a statistical method for combining the results of several studies) of published studies that have investigated the association between proteinuria and CHD.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers' systematic review identified 26 published studies that provided estimates of the association between CHD risk and proteinuria and albuminuria by measuring baseline urinary protein and albumin levels in people who were then followed for several years to see whether they developed CHD. Nearly 170,000 individuals participated in these studies, which recorded more 7,000 fatal and nonfatal heart attacks and other coronary events. In the meta-analysis, proteinuria (urinary protein of more than 300 mg/d or dipstick 1+ or more) increased CHD risk by 50% after adjustment for other known CHD risk factors. Furthermore, individuals with microalbuminuria (a urinary albumin of 30–300 mg/d) were 50% more likely to develop CHD than those with normal amounts of urinary albumin; people with macroalbuminuria (urinary albumin of more than 300 mg/d) were more than twice as likely to develop CHD. Finally, the association between proteinuria and CHD did not differ substantially between specific subgroups of participants such as people with and without diabetes.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that there is a strong, possibly dose-dependent association between proteinuria and the risk of CHD and that this association is independent of other known CHD risk factors, including diabetes. The finding that people with proteinuria have a 50% or greater increased risk of developing CHD than people without proteinuria may be a slight overestimate of the strength of the association between proteinuria because of publication bias. That is, studies that failed to show an association may not have been published. However, because this systematic review and meta-analysis includes several large population-based studies done in various parts of the world, these findings are likely to be generalizable. Thus, these findings support the inclusion of an evaluation of proteinuria in the assessment of CHD risk and suggest that medications and other strategies that reduce proteinuria might help to reduce the overall burden of CHD.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0050207.
The MedlinePlus encyclopedia has pages on coronary heart disease, atherosclerosis, and chronic kidney failure (in English and Spanish)
Information is available from the US National Heart Lung and Blood Institute on coronary heart disease
The UK National Health Service Direct health encyclopedia also provides information about coronary heart disease (in several languages)
Information for patients and caregivers is provided by the American Heart Association on all aspects of heart disease.
The British Heart Foundation also provides information on heart disease and on keeping the heart healthy
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0050207
PMCID: PMC2570419  PMID: 18942886

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