Communicating personalised statin therapy-effects as 10-year CVD-risk or CVD-free life-expectancy: does it improve decisional conflict? Three-armed, blinded, randomised controlled trial

BMJ Open. 2021 Jul 16;11(7):e041673. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2020-041673.


Objective: To determine whether communicating personalised statin therapy-effects obtained by prognostic algorithm leads to lower decisional conflict associated with statin use in patients with stable cardiovascular disease (CVD) compared with standard (non-personalised) therapy-effects.

Design: Hypothesis-blinded, three-armed randomised controlled trial SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: 303 statin users with stable CVD enrolled in a cohort INTERVENTION: Participants were randomised in a 1:1:1 ratio to standard practice (control-group) or one of two intervention arms. Intervention arms received standard practice plus (1) a personalised health profile, (2) educational videos and (3) a structured telephone consultation. Intervention arms received personalised estimates of prognostic changes associated with both discontinuation of current statin and intensification to the most potent statin type and dose (ie, atorvastatin 80 mg). Intervention arms differed in how these changes were expressed: either change in individual 10-year absolute CVD risk (iAR-group) or CVD-free life-expectancy (iLE-group) calculated with the SMART-REACH model (

Outcome: Primary outcome was patient decisional conflict score (DCS) after 1 month. The score varies from 0 (no conflict) to 100 (high conflict). Secondary outcomes were collected at 1 or 6 months: DCS, quality of life, illness perception, patient activation, patient perception of statin efficacy and shared decision-making, self-reported statin adherence, understanding of statin-therapy, post-randomisation low-density lipoprotein cholesterol level and physician opinion of the intervention. Outcomes are reported as median (25th- 75th percentile).

Results: Decisional conflict differed between the intervention arms: median control 27 (20-43), iAR-group 22 (11-30; p-value vs control 0.001) and iLE-group 25 (10-31; p-value vs control 0.021). No differences in secondary outcomes were observed.

Conclusion: In patients with clinically manifest CVD, providing personalised estimations of treatment-effects resulted in a small but significant decrease in decisional conflict after 1 month. The results support the use of personalised predictions for supporting decision-making.

Trial registration: NTR6227/NL6080.

Keywords: cardiology; lipid disorders; preventive medicine; public health; vascular medicine.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases* / drug therapy
  • Cardiovascular Diseases* / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors* / therapeutic use
  • Quality of Life
  • Referral and Consultation
  • Telephone


  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors

Associated data

  • NTR/NTR6227