Gaps in Dyslipidemia Care Among Working-Aged Individuals With Employer-Sponsored Health Care

J Am Heart Assoc. 2020 May 5;9(9):e015807. doi: 10.1161/JAHA.119.015807. Epub 2020 Apr 22.


Background The American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology guidelines defined patient-management groups that would benefit from lowering of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C). We assessed gaps in dyslipidemia care among employees and spouses with health benefits. Methods and Results We studied 17 889 employees and spouses who were covered by an employer-sponsored health plan and participated in an annual health assessment. Using medical claims, laboratory tests, and risk assessment questionnaires, we found that 43% of participants were in one of 4 patient-management groups: secondary prevention, severe hypercholesterolemia (LDL-C ≥190 mg/dL at least once in the preceding 5 years), diabetes mellitus, or elevated 10-year risk of cardiovascular disease. To assess gaps in dyslipidemia care, we used LDL-C ≤70 mg/dL as the goal for both the secondary prevention group and those in the elevated 10-year risk group with >20% risk; LDL-C ≤100 mg/dL was used for the other groups. Among those in patient-management groups, 27.3% were in the secondary prevention group, 7.4% were in the severe hypercholesterolemia group, 29.9% were in the diabetes mellitus group, and 35.4% were in the elevated 10-year risk group. About 74% of those in patient-management groups had above-goal LDL-C levels, whereas only 31% had evidence of a lipid-lowering therapy in the past 6 months: 45% in the secondary prevention group, 31% in the severe hypercholesterolemia group, 36% in the diabetes mellitus group, and 17% in the elevated 10-year risk group. Conclusions The substantial gaps in LDL-C treatment and goal attainment among members of an employer-sponsored medical plan who were mostly aware of their LDL-C levels indicate the need for gap-closure initiatives.

Keywords: cholesterol reduction; epidemiology; guideline adherence.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anticholesteremic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / diagnosis
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Cholesterol, LDL / blood*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Down-Regulation
  • Dyslipidemias / blood
  • Dyslipidemias / diagnosis
  • Dyslipidemias / drug therapy*
  • Dyslipidemias / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Health Benefit Plans, Employee*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Health*
  • Prevalence
  • Primary Prevention
  • Professional Practice Gaps*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Secondary Prevention
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United States / epidemiology


  • Anticholesteremic Agents
  • Biomarkers
  • Cholesterol, LDL