Revisiting the lipid paradox in ST-elevation myocardial infarction in the Chinese population: findings from the CCC-ACS project

Eur Heart J Acute Cardiovasc Care. 2021 Dec 6;10(9):978-987. doi: 10.1093/ehjacc/zuab053.


Aims: Previous observations revealed a negative association between low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) and clinical outcomes following myocardial infarction, i.e., the lower level the higher mortality, which was referred to as lipid paradox. We sought to re-evaluate this association in ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) in contemporary practice.

Methods and results: We examined the association between admission LDL-C and in-hospital mortality among 44 563 STEMI patients enrolled from 2014 to 2019 in a nationwide registry in China. A total of 43 covariates, which were temporally classified into the following three domains were used for adjustment: (i) pre-admission characteristics; (ii) percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI)-related variables; and (iii) other in-hospital medications. In-hospital mortality was 2.01% (897/44 563). When no covariate adjustment was performed, an inversely 'J-shaped' curve was observed between admission LDL-C levels and in-hospital mortality by restricted cubic spline in logistic regression, with a threshold value of <75 mg/dL that associated with increased risk for in-hospital mortality. However, a gradual attenuation for this association was noted when step-wise adjustments were performed, with the threshold values for LDL-C decreasing from 75 mg/dL to 70 mg/dL after accounting for pre-admission characteristics, further to 65 mg/dL after accounting for PCI-related variables, and finally to no statistical association after further adjustment for other in-hospital medications.

Conclusions: In a nationwide registry in China, our findings do not support the lipid paradox in terms of in-hospital mortality in STEMI patients in contemporary practice. Previous findings in this scenario are possibly due to inadequate control for confounders.

Keywords: Lipid paradox; Guideline-directed medical therapy; In-hospital mortality; ST-elevation myocardial infarction.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Lipids
  • Myocardial Infarction*
  • Percutaneous Coronary Intervention*
  • Registries
  • Risk Factors
  • ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Lipids