Treatment gaps in the implementation of LDL cholesterol control among high- and very high-risk patients in Europe between 2020 and 2021: the multinational observational SANTORINI study

Lancet Reg Health Eur. 2023 Apr 5;29:100624. doi: 10.1016/j.lanepe.2023.100624. eCollection 2023 Jun.


Background: European data pre-2019 suggest statin monotherapy is the most common approach to lipid management for preventing cardiovascular (CV) events, resulting in only one-fifth of high- and very high-risk patients achieving the 2019 ESC/EAS recommended low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) goals. Whether the treatment landscape has evolved, or gaps persist remains of interest.

Methods: Baseline data are presented from SANTORINI, an observational, prospective study that documents the use of lipid-lowering therapies (LLTs) in patients ≥18 years at high or very high CV risk between 2020 and 2021 across primary and secondary care settings in 14 European countries.

Findings: Of 9602 enrolled patients, 9044 with complete data were included (mean age: 65.3 ± 10.9 years; 72.6% male). Physicians reported using 2019 ESC/EAS guidelines as a basis for CV risk classification in 52.0% (4706/9044) of patients (overall: high risk 29.2%; very high risk 70.8%). However, centrally re-assessed CV risk based on 2019 ESC/EAS guidelines suggested 6.5% (308/4706) and 91.0% (4284/4706) were high- and very high-risk patients, respectively. Overall, 21.8% of patients had no documented LLTs, 54.2% were receiving monotherapy and 24.0% combination LLT. Median (interquartile range [IQR]) LDL-C was 2.1 (1.6, 3.0) mmol/L (82 [60, 117] mg/dL), with 20.1% of patients achieving risk-based LDL-C goals as per the 2019 ESC/EAS guidelines.

Interpretation: At the time of study enrolment, 80% of high- and very high-risk patients failed to achieve 2019 ESC/EAS guidelines LDL-C goals. Contributory factors may include CV risk underestimation and underutilization of combination therapies. Further efforts are needed to achieve current guideline-recommended LDL-C goals.

Trial registration: Identifier: NCT04271280.

Funding: This study is funded by Daiichi Sankyo Europe GmbH, Munich, Germany.

Keywords: Cardiovascular disease; Cohort study; High cardiovascular risk; LDL cholesterol; Lipid-lowering therapy; Real-world evidence.

Associated data