Adherence to Blood Cholesterol Treatment Guidelines Among Physicians Managing Patients With Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease.

Affiliation

Boston Health Economics, Inc., Boston, Massachusetts. Electronic address: [Email]

Abstract

The ACC/AHA blood cholesterol treatment guidelines recommend statin therapy for all patients after experiencing an acute cardiovascular event. Previous analyses have shown that physicians have been slow to adopt guidelines, and many patients remain untreated or undertreated with statins after a cardiovascular event. However, reasons for this remain unknown. This analysis used electronic medical records and patient chart data from Reliant Medical Group (Worcester, Massachusetts) to evaluate physician adherence to the 2013 ACC/AHA blood cholesterol guidelines when treating patients with evidence of acute atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease and the reasons for the observed treatment decisions. Less than 50% of acute atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease patients were treated according to the ACC/AHA guidelines. Nearly 42% of patients not treated according to guidelines received a lower statin intensity than recommended. The most common reason cited by 41.8% of physicians for treating with a statin intensity below the recommended intensity was low-density lipoprotein cholesterol stable or at goal, despite ACC/AHA guidelines recommending specific statin intensities rather than specific low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels. In conclusion, physician and patient education on the importance of maximizing lipid-lowering therapy in this high-risk patient population should be emphasized.

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