Measuring and Treating Serum Lipids in Patients in a Chest Pain Observation Unit

Michael J. Gillespie, Cheryl J. Davis, Nathan D. Lambert, Frederick M. Costello, Sidney C. Smith, Mauricio G. Cohen, Venu Menon

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1 Scopus citations


We evaluated opportunities to initiate statin therapy in 574 consecutive subjects admitted to a chest pain observation unit (CPOU). Ten-year Framingham risk scores were retrospectively calculated for all patients according to the National Cholesterol Education Program and Adult Treatment Panel III 2001 recommendations. Subjects were then stratified according to (1) recommendations for initiation of a lipid-lowering medication and (2) whether they received lipid-lowering drug therapy at discharge. Of 574 subjects, we excluded 50 with previously established coronary heart disease or who were already taking a statin medication on presentation, 23 with missing data, and 80 who did not have a low-density lipoprotein (LDL) measurement at admission. Of the remaining 421 subjects, the mean age was 47 years, 40% were men, 57% were white, 31% had hypertension, 27% were current smokers, and 6% had diabetes. Ten-year risk calculation classified 47% (n = 199) at low risk (<2 risk factors), 32% (n = 134) at moderate risk (≥2 risk factors and <10% risk), 11% (n = 48) at moderate-high risk (10% to 20% risk), and 10% (n = 40) at high risk (>20% risk). Of the entire cohort, 23% of subjects (n = 96) had hypercholesterolemia, of which 52% (n = 50) met indications for initiation of lipid-lowering medication. Only 6% of patients with an indication for treatment (n = 3) were prescribed a lipid-lowering medication on discharge, leaving 94% (n = 47) untreated for their hypercholesterolemia. In conclusion, patients admitted to a CPOU have a high prevalence of hypercholesterolemia, and therefore, an increased long-term risk for cardiovascular events. In addition to their primary role, CPOUs should focus on primary prevention and reduction of long-term risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1718-1720
Number of pages3
JournalAmerican Journal of Cardiology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 15 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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