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Use of high-intensity statins for patients with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease in the Veterans Affairs Health System: Practice impact of the new cholesterol guidelines.

Rodriguez F, Lin S, Maron DJ, Knowles JW, Virani SS, Heidenreich PA. Use of high-intensity statins for patients with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease in the Veterans Affairs Health System: Practice impact of the new cholesterol guidelines. American heart journal. 2016 Dec 1; 182:97-102.

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Abstract:

BACKGROUND: The November 2013 American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association cholesterol guidelines recommend the use of high-intensity statins for patients with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD). We sought to determine how these guidelines are being adopted at the Veterans Affairs (VA) Health System and identify treatment gaps. METHODS: We examined administrative data from the VA 12 months prior to the index dates of April 1, 2013, and after April 1, 2014, to identify patients = 75 years of age with = 2 codes for ASCVD. We identified those on high-intensity statin therapy (atorvastatin 40 mg or 80 mg, rosuvastatin 20 mg or 40 mg, and simvastatin 80 mg) during the 6 months after the index date. RESULTS: The study sample included 331,927 and 326,759 eligible adults with ASCVD before and after the release of the new guidelines, respectively. Overall, high-intensity statin use increased from 28% to 35% after guideline release. High-intensity statin use was lowest in Hispanics and Native Americans, although all groups showed an increase over time. Among those on low- or moderate-intensity statin therapy, 15.6% were intensified to a high-intensity statin after guideline release. Groups less likely to undergo statin intensification were older adults (odds ratio = 0.78 for each 10-year increase, 95% CI 0.76-0.81), women (odds ratio = 0.86, 95% CI 0.75-0.99), and certain minority groups. Academic teaching hospitals and hospitals on the West Coast were more likely to intensify statins after release of the new guidelines. CONCLUSIONS: High-intensity statin use increased in the VA following release of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association cholesterol treatment guidelines, although disparities persist for certain patient groups including older adults, women, and certain minority groups.





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