Research Article

Prevention of progression of coronary atherosclerosis by treatment of hyperlipidaemia: a seven year prospective angiographic study.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1984; 289 doi: (Published 28 July 1984) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1984;289:220
  1. E A Nikkilä,
  2. P Viikinkoski,
  3. M Valle,
  4. M H Frick


    The progression of coronary atherosclerosis was assessed by repeat angiography in 28 patients and 20 controls with hyperlipidaemia (serum cholesterol concentration greater than 7.2 mmol/l (278 mg/100 ml) or serum triglyceride concentration greater than 2.0 mmol/l (177 mg/100 ml), or both) and symptomatic coronary artery disease of two or three vessels. Twenty eight patients (26 men and two women) were treated with diet and drugs (clofibrate or nicotinic acid, or both) to lower lipid concentrations. Twenty men taking part in a simultaneous study served as non-randomised controls. They received medical treatment for coronary artery disease but no treatment to reduce lipid concentrations. The initial levels of coronary risk factors and the angiographic state were comparable in the two groups. In the 28 patients total cholesterol, total triglyceride, and low density lipoprotein cholesterol concentrations were reduced by an average 18%, 38%, and 19% respectively by treatment for hyperlipidaemia and high density lipoprotein cholesterol concentration was increased on average by 10%. The treatment maintained these concentrations during a follow up of seven years. By all criteria coronary lesions progressed significantly less in the patients than the controls: the angiographic state remained completely unchanged in nine (32%) of the patients compared with only one (8%) of the surviving controls; of the arterial segments at risk, 46 (16.5%) progressed in the patients compared with 50 (38.2%) in the controls (p less than 0.001); and the coronary obstruction increased less in patients than in controls (p less than 0.05). Cardiac survival was 89% in seven years in the patients compared with 65% in five years in the controls (p less than 0.01). The anginal symptoms diminished or remained stable in 16 of the 24 patients who survived until the end of the study. The progression of coronary atheromatosis was significantly greater in those patients who during the seven years of treatment had an average total cholesterol concentration, VLDL plus LDL cholesterol concentration, or ratio of LDL to HDL cholesterol concentration above the respective median value than in those with the corresponding values below median. On the other hand, the patients with HDL cholesterol concentrations above the median during treatment showed less progression than those with lower HDL cholesterol concentrations. The increase in coronary obstruction was inversely related to the average HDL cholesterol concentration during treatment. The progression was not, however, related to LDL cholesterol concentration during treatment.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)