Prompt impact of first prospective statin mega-trials on postoperative lipid management of CABG patients: A 20-year follow-up in a single hospital

A. Palomäki, V. Hällberg*, M. Ala-Korpela, P. T. Kovanen, K. Malminiemi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

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Background: The long-term success of coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) depends on secondary prevention. Vast evidence provided by the results of cholesterol mega-trials over two decades has shown that effective reduction of LDL cholesterol improves the prognosis of patients with coronary heart disease. However, the implementation of these results into the clinical practice has turned out to be challenging. We analysed how the information derived from clinical statin trials and international recommendations affected the local treatment practices of dyslipidaemia of CABG patients during a 20-year time period. Methods: The cohort includes all CABG patients (n = 953) treated in Kanta-Häme Central Hospital during the time period 1990-2009. At the postoperative visits in the cardiology outpatient clinic, each patient's statin prescription was recorded, and blood lipids were determined. Results: During 1990-1994, 12.0 % of patients were on statins and during the following 5-year time periods the proportion was 57.2, 82.2 and 96.8 %, respectively. During the 20-year observation period (1990-2009), the effective statin dose increased progressively during these 5-year periods up to 36-fold, while the mean concentration of LDL cholesterol decreased from 3.7 to 2.1 mmol/l and that of apolipoprotein B from 1.3 to 0.8 g/l. In the very last year of follow-up, the mean concentrations of LDL-C and apoB were 1.83 mmol/l and 0.78 g/l, respectively. The most prominent increase in statin use and dosage took place during 1994-1996 and 2003-2005, respectively. Conclusions: Among CABG patients the lipid-lowering efficacy of statin therapy improved dramatically since 1994. This progress was accompanied by significant and favourable changes of lipid and apolipoprotein-B values. This study shows that it is possible to effectively improve lipid treatment policy once the results of relevant trials are available, and that this may happen even before international or national guidelines have been updated.

Original languageEnglish
Article number124
Number of pages8
JournalLipids in Health and Disease
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jul 2016


  • ApoB
  • CABG
  • Coronary artery bypass
  • Extended Friedewald
  • LDL cholesterol
  • Lipids
  • Statin intolerance
  • Statins

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