Global variation in the prevalence of elevated cholesterol in outpatients with established vascular disease or 3 cardiovascular risk factors according to national indices of economic development and health system performance.
BACKGROUND: Elevated serum cholesterol accounts for a considerable proportion of cardiovascular disease worldwide. An understanding of the relationship between country-level economic and health system factors and elevated cholesterol may provide insight for prioritization of cardiovascular prevention programs. METHODS AND RESULTS: Using hierarchical models, we examined the relationship between elevated total cholesterol (>200 mg/dL) in 53 570 outpatients from 36 countries, and tertiles of several country-level indices: (1) gross national income, (2) total expenditure on health as percentage of gross domestic product, (3) government expenditure on health as percentage of total expenditure on health, (4) out-of-pocket expenditures as percentage of private expenditure on health, and the World Health Organization indices of (5) Health System Achievement and (6) Performance/Efficiency. Overall, 38% of outpatients had total cholesterol >200 mg/dL (>5.18 mmol/L), and 9.3% of the total variability in elevated cholesterol was at the country level; this proportion was higher for patients with (12.1%) versus without (7.4%) history of hyperlipidemia. Among patients with history of hyperlipidemia, countries in the highest tertile of gross national income or World Health Organization Health System Achievement had lower odds of elevated cholesterol than lower tertiles (P<0.001, for both). Countries in the highest tertile of out-of-pocket health expenditures had higher odds of elevated cholesterol than those in the lowest tertile (P<0.001). No significant associations were found for patients without history of hyperlipidemia. CONCLUSIONS: Global variations in the prevalence of elevated cholesterol among patients with history of hyperlipidemia are associated with country-level economic development and health system indices. These results support the need for strengthening efforts toward effective cardiovascular disease prevention and control and may provide insight for health policy setting at the national level.
Venkitachalam, L; Wang, K; Porath, A; Corbalan, R; Hirsch, AT; Cohen, DJ; Smith, SC; Ohman, EM; Steg, PG; Bhatt, DL; Magnuson, EA; REACH Registry Investigators,
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