Managing dyslipidaemia for the primary prevention of cardiovascular diseaseBMJ 2018; 360 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.k946 (Published 23 March 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;360:k946
- Aidan Ryan, academic clinical fellow1,
- Simon Heath, partner2,
- Paul Cook, consultant in chemical pathology and metabolic medicine1
- 1Metabolic Medicine, Department of laboratory medicine, University Hospital Southampton, Southampton, UK
- 2General Practice, Hazelwood Group Practice, Warwickshire, UK
- Correspondence to A Ryan
What you need to know
Assess lipid status as part of an overall cardiovascular risk assessment using a risk calculator
Routinely record a family history of premature cardiovascular disease, and consider an underlying familial dyslipidaemia
Explain to patients their cardiovascular risk and the benefits and harms of treatment
Sources and selection criteria
We carried out an electronic search through PubMed and Cochrane database of systematic reviews using the following search terms: “primary prevention,” “dyslipidaemia,” “cardiovascular disease,” “statins,” “statin intolerance,” “ezetimibe,” “PCSK9,” “hypercholesterolaemia diagnosis and treatment.” We also interrogated relevant dyslipidaemia guidelines and personal archives for supporting evidence as discussed and as referenced.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the most common underlying cause of death worldwide, accounting for 17.3 million of 54 million total deaths per year. Of these, 8.2 million were caused by ischaemic heart disease and 6.5 million by stroke.1 Mean total cholesterol, calculated low density lipoprotein (LDLc), and triglyceride concentrations have declined over the last 20 years. However, some observational cohort evidence suggests that long term exposure to even modestly elevated cholesterol concentrations is associated with CVD in later life.12
Cholesterol made in the liver and from the diet is transported to peripheral cells by apoB-containing lipoproteins in the blood (fig 1). In a fasting sample, the LDL particles constitute most of the circulating apoB lipoproteins. However, in clinical practice LDL is not measured directly but is calculated (LDLc) (box 1). LDLc has become a metric for treatment success and for diagnosis.