A 55-year-old man had his serum cholesterol level measured at a shopping mall 2 months ago. His cholesterol level was elevated and he comes to you, his primary care physician, for advice. He does not smoke, is not obese, and does not have hypertension, diabetes mellitus, or any first-order relatives with premature coronary heart disease (CHD). You repeat his cholesterol test and schedule a follow-up appointment. The test confirms an elevated cholesterol level (7.9 mmol/L [305 mg/dL]), but before deciding on a treatment recommendation, you elect to find out just how big a reduction in the risk of CHD this patient could expect from a cholesterollowering diet or drug therapy.
There are a number of cholesterol-lowering trials, and instead of trying to find and review all of the original studies yourself, you use Grateful Med to find a recent overview. On the first subject line you
Oxman AD, Cook DJ, Guyatt GH, Bass E, Brill-Edwards P, Browman G, Detsky A, Farkouh M, Gerstein H, Haines T, Haynes B, Hayward R, Holbrook A, Jaeschke R, Juniper E, Laupacis A, Lee H, Levine M, Moyer V, Naylor D, Nishikawa J, Patel A, Philbrick J, Richardson S, Sauve S, Sacked D, Sinclair J, Strom B, Trout KS, Tunis S, Walter S, Williams J, Wilson M. Users' Guides to the Medical LiteratureVI. How to Use an Overview. JAMA. 1994;272(17):1367-1371. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03520170077040