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January 1991

Detection and Treatment of Elevated Blood Cholesterol: What Have We Learned?

Arch Intern Med. 1991;151(1):25-28. doi:10.1001/archinte.1991.00400010049004

In 1984, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) convened a consensus development conference on lowering blood cholesterol levels to prevent heart disease. After reviewing decades of experimental and clinical research, this conference concluded that the relationship between blood cholesterol levels and heart disease is causal, and that reduction of blood cholesterol levels helps prevent coronary heart disease. They recommended that attempts should be made to reduce blood cholesterol levels in the general population, and specified the levels of cholesterol at which dietary or drug treatment should be initiated.1

This report, coupled with the encouraging results of the Coronary Primary Prevention Trial (CPPT)2 led the NHLBI to launch the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP). The stated objective of the NCEP was to reduce coronary heart disease morbidity and mortality related to elevated blood cholesterol levels by developing a national educational effort.3

In January 1988, the NCEP