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Optimizing Dyslipidemia Management for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease: a Focus on Risk Assessment and Therapeutic Options

Abstract

Primary prevention of incident atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) as well as decreasing the risk of future events in those with established atherosclerosis is critical from a public health perspective. Management of dyslipidemias constitutes a key target in decreasing the risk of developing ASCVD events. While there have been great strides in the treatment of dyslipidemia over the last three decades, there are important recent developments and ongoing research that will expand the available therapeutic options and enable further cardiovascular risk reduction.

Purpose of Review

The purpose of this paper is to review new developments relating to the primary prevention and management of ASCVD with a specific focus on optimizing the treatment of dyslipidemias.

Recent Findings

In the realm of ASCVD risk prediction, mounting evidence over the last decade has demonstrated that coronary artery calcium testing is superior to any serum biomarker in the prediction of future ASCVD events and in discriminating future cardiovascular risk. As such, it has been incorporated into the most recent ACC/AHA primary prevention guideline to help guide management decisions in select patients. In terms of the management of dyslipidemias, PCSK9 inhibitors lower LDL-C by 50–70% and provide an additional 15% reduction in key cardiovascular events in high-risk patients with known ASCVD, as demonstrated in the ODYSSEY and FOURIER trials. Cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) inhibitors, which significantly increase HDL-C levels, demonstrated mixed results in large clinical trials and have helped reframe HDL-C as a risk marker rather than a modifiable risk factor. In regard to the management of triglycerides, the REDUCE-IT trial demonstrated a nearly 5% absolute reduction in key cardiovascular events with a highly purified fish-oil derivative named icosapent ethyl in high-risk patients already on statin therapy. Finally, in regard to lipoprotein(a)—which is a strong risk factor for ASCVD—there are exciting developments in the therapeutic pipeline which reduce circulating lipoprotein(a) levels by nearly 90%.

Summary

The management of dyslipidemias continues to be an exciting field with several ongoing cardiovascular outcomes trials, improvement in risk prediction models, and new therapeutic agents in the pipeline that will further mitigate residual cardiovascular risk in both primary and secondary prevention patients.

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Correspondence to Ron Blankstein.

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Adam Berman declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Ron Blankstein reports grants from Astellas Inc. and Amgen Inc.

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This article is part of the Topical Collection on Lipid Abnormalities and Cardiovascular Prevention

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Berman, A.N., Blankstein, R. Optimizing Dyslipidemia Management for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease: a Focus on Risk Assessment and Therapeutic Options. Curr Cardiol Rep 21, 110 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11886-019-1175-z

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11886-019-1175-z

Keywords

  • Dyslipidemia
  • ASCVD
  • Cardiovascular disease prevention
  • Emerging therapies
  • Lipoprotein(a)
  • LDL-C
  • Hypertriglyceridemia