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Adherence to National Cholesterol Education Program Treatment Goals in Postmenopausal Women With Heart Disease:  The Heart and Estrogen/Progestin Replacement Study (HERS)

Helmut G. Schrott, MD; Vera Bittner, MD, MSPH; Eric Vittinghoff, PhD; David M. Herrington, MD, MHS; Stephen Hulley, MD, MPH
JAMA. 1997;277(16):1281-1286. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03540400031027.
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Objectives.  —To determine the proportion of volunteer women with established heart disease who have low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) levels at or below the National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel goals and to determine what factors are associated with levels above goal or not receiving lipid-lowering medication when indicated.

Design.  —Cross-sectional measurement of lipids and lipoproteins, blood pressure, height, weight, and other demographic and cardiovascular risk factors in 2763 postmenopausal women with heart disease.

Setting.  —At 18 centers throughout the United States, participants were recruited by means of lists of women with coronary heart disease from coronary units and catheterization laboratories, direct mail to age-eligible women, and advertisements.

Patients.  —Mean age of the cohort was 66.7 years (range, 44-79 years) and the distribution by race/ethnicity was 88.7% white, 7.9% African American, 2.0% Hispanic/Latina, 0.8% Asian/Pacific Islander, and 0.7% other.

Intervention.  —We report cross-sectional analysis of the cohort at baseline.

Outcome Measures.  —We measured the frequency of achieving 1988 and 1993 Adult Treatment Panel treatment goals, and of being on a regimen of lipid-lowering medication.

Results.  —Although 47% of participants were taking a lipid-lowering medication, 63% did not meet the 1988 treatment goal of LDL-C level less than 3.4 mmol/L (130 mg/dL) and 91% did not meet the 1993 goal of LDL-C level less than 2.6 mmol/L (100 mg/dL). Factors independently associated with achieving the earlier goal were use of lipid-lowering medication, marital status, education, body mass index, exercise, hypertension, diabetes, gallbladder disease, and first diagnosis of coronary heart disease after 1990. Failure to use lipid-lowering medication was associated with age, being African American, marital status, body mass index, lack of exercise, alcohol consumption, current smoking, and first diagnosis of coronary heart disease before 1985.

Conclusion.  —The majority of women enrolled in the trial had LDL-C levels that significantly exceeded the treatment goals set by the 1988 and 1993 Adult Treatment Panel guidelines. Better implementation of these guidelines among women with coronary disease would be highlyd desirable.

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