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Most heart attack patients' cholesterol levels did not indicate cardiac risk
Date:1/12/2009

athy Center.

"This is one of the first studies to address lipid levels in patients hospitalized for a heart attack at hospitals across the entire country."

The research team used a national database sponsored by the American Heart Association's Get with the Guidelines program. The database includes information on patients hospitalized for cardiovascular disease at 541 hospitals across the country.

Researchers analyzed data from 136,905 patients hospitalized for a heart attack nationwide between 2000 and 2006 whose lipid levels upon hospital admission were documented. This accounted for 59 percent of total hospital admissions for heart attack at participating hospitals during the study period.

Among individuals without any prior cardiovascular disease or diabetes, 72.1 percent had admission LDL levels less than 130 mg/dL, which is the current LDL cholesterol target for this population. Thus, the vast majority of individuals having their first heart attack would not have been targeted for effective preventative treatments based on the criteria used in the current guidelines.

The team also found that half of the patients with a history of heart disease had LDL cholesterol levels lower than 100 mg/dL, and 17.6 percent of patients had LDL levels below 70 mg/dL, which are guideline targets for LDL cholesterol in those at fair risk and at high risk for cardiovascular disease, respectively.

The study also showed that HDL cholesterol, or "good cholesterol," levels have dropped in patients hospitalized for heart attack over the past few years, possibly due to increasing rates of obesity, insulin resistance and diabetes.

Researchers found that 54.6 percent of patients had HDL levels below 40 mg/dL. Developing more effective treatments to boost HDL levels may help reduce the number of patients hospitalized for heart attacks, according to the authors.

"We found that less than 2 percen
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Contact: Rachel Champeau
rchampeau@mednet.ucla.edu
310-794-2270
University of California - Los Angeles
Source:Eurekalert

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