Prevalence and management of hypercholesterolemia in France, the Esteban observational study

Medicine (Baltimore). 2020 Dec 11;99(50):e23445. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000023445.


Hypercholesterolemia is a major risk factor for cardiovascular diseases. However, its management in everyday clinical practice is often suboptimal. The aims of the Esteban study were to estimate the prevalence of hypercholesterolemia and to describe its management in France in 2015.Esteban is a cross-sectional, publicly funded survey, representative of the French population. Data were collected using questionnaires and biological and clinical examinations in 3021 adults aged 18-74.The lipid-lowering treatments were obtained by matching the individual data of the subjects included in the Esteban survey with data from the Système national de données de santé. Hypercholesterolemia was defined as either a low density lipoprotein cholesterol value higher than the goal set in the European Society of Cardiology/European Atherosclerosis Society guidelines as a function of individual cardiovascular risk level, or at least 1 delivery of lipid-lowering treatment. Adherence was defined by the proportion of days covered by the lipid-lowering treatment in the 6 months preceding clinical examination. Prevalence of hypercholesterolemia in France was 23.3% (27.8% in men, 19.0% in women). Mean low density lipoprotein cholesterol was 3.38 mmol/l in French participants. Among them, 7.2% were treated (8.5% of men, 5.8% of women), while 16.1% of adults went untreated (19.3% of men, 13.2% of women). Only 29.7% of secondary prevention adults had a delivery of lipid-lowering treatments in the 6 months preceding clinical examination. Fewer than 1 in 3 treated adults were adherent, i.e. more than 80% of days covered by a treatment. This proportion reached 37.4% in the high-risk group, with no significant difference of adherence in people with or without a personal history of cardiovascular disease in this group.This study showed that hypercholesterolemia is a common metabolic disease in France, affecting 23.3% of the population. Lipid-lowering prescriptions diverged greatly from current recommendations, with less than a third of eligible patients being treated.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anticholesteremic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Cholesterol, LDL / blood
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • France / epidemiology
  • Heart Disease Risk Factors
  • Humans
  • Hypercholesterolemia / drug therapy
  • Hypercholesterolemia / epidemiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Young Adult


  • Anticholesteremic Agents
  • Cholesterol, LDL