Use of intensive lipid-lowering therapy in patients hospitalized with acute coronary syndrome: an analysis of 65,396 hospitalizations from 344 hospitals participating in Get With The Guidelines (GWTG)

Am Heart J. 2010 Dec;160(6):1130-6, 1136.e1-3. doi: 10.1016/j.ahj.2010.08.041.


Objectives: The study aimed to analyze the use of intensive lipid-lowering therapy (LLT) at discharge in a broad population of patients hospitalized with acute coronary syndrome (ACS).

Background: Early and intensive statin therapy in ACS was shown to reduce cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Utilization and predictors of LLT among hospitalized ACS patients are not known.

Methods: The GWTG database was analyzed for ACS-related hospitalizations from 2005 to 2009. The use of LLT (defined as dose of statin or combination therapy likely to produce>50% reductions in low-density lipoprotein [LDL]) and less intensive LLT at discharge was assessed. Baseline characteristics and temporal trends in LLT were compared in these 2 treatment groups.

Results: Of 65,396 patients receiving LLT, only 25,036 (38.3%) were treated with an LLT regimen. Mean total cholesterol, LDL, and triglycerides were significantly higher in the LLT group. Even among those with LDL>130 mg/dL, 50% or less received LLT. Predictors of LLT at discharge included LLT before admission, hyperlipidemia, prior coronary artery disease, increasing body mass index, and in-hospital percutaneous coronary intervention. Although there was some temporal improvement in the rate of LLT from 2005 to 2007, a decline in use of LLT was noted in 2008 and 2009. This was attributed to a sharp reduction in use of ezetimibe in combination with statin, without corresponding increases in intensive statin monotherapy.

Conclusions: In a large cohort of patients admitted with ACS, most of the eligible patients were not discharged on LLT. These data suggest the need for better implementation of guideline-recommended intensive statin therapy in patients with ACS.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Coronary Syndrome / blood
  • Acute Coronary Syndrome / drug therapy*
  • Aged
  • Cholesterol, LDL / blood*
  • Cholesterol, LDL / drug effects
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / administration & dosage
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Hypolipidemic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Hypolipidemic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Discharge*
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors
  • Hypolipidemic Agents