Stroke Patients Often Have Elevated LDL Levels

Study supports routine lipid testing in patients hospitalized with stroke/transient ischemic attack

MONDAY, Feb. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Many patients hospitalized for stroke or transient ischemic attack have serum low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels at admission that are above levels recommended by national guidelines, according to a report in the Feb. 27 issue of Neurology. In fact, many of these patients have been diagnosed with dyslipidemia and are taking lipid-lowering agents.

Eric E. Smith, M.D., of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and colleagues sought to determine the characteristics of patients with stroke/transient ischemic attack in regards to guidelines established by the National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel.

The investigators found the 27 percent of 1,040 patients discharged for stroke or transient ischemic attack during a 2.5-year period had LDL levels above their individual pre-admission LDL goal, with many of these patients having been previously diagnosed with dyslipidemia and taking lipid-lowering agents. Failure to be at goal levels was strongly related to lower LDL therapeutic targets.

"Patients at the greatest risk of cardiovascular events are the least likely to be at guideline-recommended LDL levels," the authors conclude. "These data imply that a strategy of admission lipid testing for all ischemic stroke and transient ischemic attack admissions will identify a large number of patients who need additional therapy, and therefore support the use of routine serum lipid testing in all hospitalized patients with stroke or transient ischemic attack."

Although this study was not supported by external funding, one of the authors reports prior support from AstraZeneca and BMS Sanofi.

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