The Expected 30-Year Benefits of Early Versus Delayed Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease by Lipid Lowering.

Journal Article (Journal Article;Multicenter Study)

BACKGROUND: Lipid-lowering recommendations for prevention of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease rely principally on estimated 10-year risk. We sought to determine the optimal time for initiation of lipid lowering in younger adults as a function of expected 30-year benefit. METHODS: Data from 3148 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2009-2016) participants, age 30 to 59 years, not eligible for lipid-lowering treatment recommendation under the most recent US guidelines, were analyzed. We estimated the absolute and relative impact of lipid lowering as a function of age, age at initiation, and non-high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) level on the expected rates of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease over the succeeding 30 years. We modeled expected risk reductions based on shorter-term effects observed in statin trials (model A) and longer-term benefits based on Mendelian randomization studies (model B). RESULTS: In both models, potential reductions in predicted 30-year atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease risk were greater with older age and higher non-HDL-C level. Immediate initiation of lipid lowering (ie, treatment for 30 years) in 40- to 49-year-old patients with non-HDL-C ≥160 mg/dL would be expected to reduce their average predicted 30-year risk of 17.1% to 11.6% (model A; absolute risk reduction [ARR], 5.5%) or 6.5% (model B; ARR 10.6%). Delaying lipid lowering by 10 years (treatment for 20 years) would result in residual 30-year risk of 12.7% (A; ARR 4.4) or 9.9% (B; ARR 7.2%) and delaying by 20 years (treatment for 10 years) would lead to expected mean residual risk of 14.6% (A; ARR 2.6%) or 13.9% (B; ARR 3.2%). The slope of the achieved ARR as a function of delay in treatment was also higher with older age and higher non-HDL-C level. CONCLUSIONS: Substantial reduction in expected atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease risk in the next 30 years is achievable by intensive lipid lowering in individuals in their 40s and 50s with non-HDL-C ≥160 mg/dL. For many, the question of when to start lipid lowering might be more relevant than whether to start lipid lowering.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Pencina, MJ; Pencina, KM; Lloyd-Jones, D; Catapano, AL; Thanassoulis, G; Sniderman, AD

Published Date

  • September 2020

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 142 / 9

Start / End Page

  • 827 - 837

PubMed ID

  • 32700572

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1524-4539

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.120.045851


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States