Lipid levels and major adverse cardiovascular events in patients initiated on statins for primary prevention: an international population-based cohort study protocol

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Background: Clinical guidelines recommend specific targets for low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) and non-high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (non-HDL-C) for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Furthermore, individual variability in lipid response to statin therapy requires assessment of the association in diverse populations. Aim: To assess whether lower concentrations of LDL-C and non-HDL-C are associated with a reduced risk of major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE) in primary prevention of CVD. Design & setting: An international, new-user, cohort study will be undertaken. It will use data from three electronic health record databases from three global regions: Clinical Practice Research Datalink, UK; PREDICT-CVD, New Zealand (NZ); and the Clinical Data and Analysis Reporting System, Hong Kong (HK). Method: New statin users without a history of atherosclerotic CVD, heart failure, or chronic kidney disease, with baseline and follow-up lipid levels will be eligible for inclusion. Patients will be classified according to LDL-C (<1.4, 1.4–1.7, 1.8–2.5, and ≥2.6 mmol/l) and non-HDL-C (<2.2, 2.2–2.5, 2.6–3.3, and ≥3.4 mmol/l) concentrations 24 months after initiating statin therapy. The primary outcome of interest is MACE, defined as the first occurrence of coronary heart disease, stroke, or cardiovascular death. Secondary outcomes include all-cause mortality and the individual components of MACE. Sensitivity analyses will be conducted using lipid levels at 3 and 12 months after starting statin therapy. Conclusion: Results will inform clinicians about the benefits of achieving guideline recommended concentrations of LDL-C for primary prevention of CVD.

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