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December 1992

Distribution of Lipid Phenotypes in Community-Living Men With Coronary Heart Disease: High Prevalence of Isolated Low Levels of High-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol

Author Affiliations

From the Boston, Mass (Dr Rubins), Milwaukee, Wis (Dr Schectman), and Minneapolis, Minn (Dr Wilt) Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Centers; the Departments of Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine (Dr Rubins), Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee (Dr Schectman), and University of Minnesota School of Medicine, Minneapolis (Dr Wilt); and the Department of Veterans Affairs Cooperative Studies Program, Veterans Health Administration (Dr Iwane).

Arch Intern Med. 1992;152(12):2412-2416. doi:10.1001/archinte.1992.00400240036005

Background.—  Risk factor modification, including treatment of dyslipidemias, has been recommended for the prevention of future coronary events in patients with coronary heart disease (CHD). Since the prevalence of various dyslipidemias among outpatients with CHD has not been well documented, the purpose of this study was to determine the frequency of specific lipid phenotypes among ambulatory men with CHD.

Methods.—  Lipid profiles were obtained in 255 men (mean age, 65.5±9.1 years) with CHD in three Veterans Affairs medical centers. Desirable levels of lipids were defined according to National Cholesterol Education Program guidelines as follows: low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) levels less than 3.36 mmol/L (130 mg/dL); high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) levels equal to or greater than 0.90 mmol/L (35 mg/dL); and triglyceride levels less than 2.83 mmol/L.

Results.—  Seventy-six percent of the group had one or more abnormalities on lipid profile: 51% had high LDL-C levels with or without abnormalities of HDL-C and/or triglyceride levels; 22% had low HDL-C levels with desirable levels of LDL-C; and 3% had hypertriglyceridemia without any cholesterol abnormalities. Normal lipid profiles were significantly more prevalent in subjects over the age of 65 years than in younger patients (40% vs 14%).

Conclusions.—  These data suggest that (1) a high proportion of men with CHD have dyslipidemia, including 50% with LDL-C level elevations. For these men, the potential benefits of therapeutic intervention have been documented in clinical trials, although the cost-efficiency of wide-scale treatment has not been determined; (2) isolated hypertriglyceridemia is rare in this population; and (3) low HDL-C levels in association with desirable LDL-C levels are present in more than one fifth of male patients with CHD. Clinical trials focusing on this large group are urgently needed to determine whether efforts to raise HDL-C levels result in reduced cardiac morbidity and/or mortality.(Arch Intern Med. 1992;152:2412-2416)