Aims: To identify individuals at high risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD), who are not definite statin eligible according to the 2016 European Society of Cardiology/European Atherosclerosis Society (ESC/EAS) guidelines, based on high concentrations of plasma triglycerides.
Methods and results: From the Copenhagen General Population Study (2003-2015) 58 547 individuals aged 40-65 and free of ASCVD, diabetes, and statin use at baseline were included. Of these, 14% were definite statin eligible, 7% were not eligible and had triglycerides ≥3.0 mmol/L (264 mg/dL), and 79% were not statin eligible and had triglycerides <3.0 mmol/L (264 mg/dL). During 456 057 person-years of follow-up, 1770 individuals experienced a major adverse cardiovascular event (MACE) and 734 experienced a myocardial infarction (MI). The cumulative incidences of MACE at age 70 were 8.1% (95% confidence interval 7.3-8.9%) and 14.6% (12.6-16.8%) in statin non-eligible individuals with triglycerides <3.0 mmol/L (264 mg/dL) and ≥3.0 mmol/L (264 mg/dL), and 16.5% (14.0-19.3%) in statin eligible individuals. Corresponding cumulative incidences of MI were 3.0% (2.7-3.3%), 7.8% (6.4-9.5%), and 7.1% (5.9-8.4%), respectively. The estimated 10-year risks of MACE were 2.8% (2.6-3.0%) and 5.7% (4.9-6.6%) in statin non-eligible individuals with triglycerides <3.0 mmol/L (264 mg/dL) and ≥3.0 mmol/L (264 mg/dL), and 7.6% (6.9-8.3%) in statin eligible individuals; the median age in these three groups were 51, 51, and 60 years, respectively. Corresponding risks of MI were 1.0% (0.9-1.1%), 3.0% (2.4-3.7%), and 3.3% (2.8-3.7%), respectively.
Conclusion: Statin non-eligible individuals with triglycerides ≥3.0 mmol/L (264 mg/dL) had risk of ASCVD similar to statin eligible individuals, defined according to the 2016 ESC/EAS guidelines. This illustrates an unmet need for primary prevention, calling for expansion of guidelines on statin eligibility, and the potential for placebo-controlled randomized clinical trials in individuals with hypertriglyceridaemia.
Keywords: Atherosclerosis; Cholesterol; General population; Lipids; Remnant cholesterol; Triglyceride-rich lipoproteins.
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