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Background Variability in low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) response to statins is underappreciated. We characterised patients by their statin response (SR), baseline risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and 10-year CVD outcomes. Methods and results A multivariable model was developed using 183,213 United Kingdom (UK) patients without CVD to predict probability of sub-optimal SR, defined by guidelines as <40% reduction in LDL-C. We externally validated the model in a Hong Kong (HK) cohort (n = 170,904). Patients were stratified into four groups by predicted SR and 10-year CVD risk score: [SR1] optimal SR & low risk; [SR2] sub-optimal SR & low risk; [SR3] optimal SR & high risk; [SR4] sub-optimal SR & high risk; and 10-year hazard ratios (HR) determined for first major adverse cardiovascular event (MACE). Our SR model included 12 characteristics, with an area under the curve of 0.70 (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.70–0.71; UK) and 0.68 (95% CI 0.67–0.68; HK). HRs for MACE in predicted sub-optimal SR with low CVD risk groups (SR2 to SR1) were 1.39 (95% CI 1.35–1.43, p<0.001; UK) and 1.14 (95% CI 1.11–1.17, p<0.001; HK). In both cohorts, patients with predicted sub-optimal SR with high CVD risk (SR4 to SR3) had elevated risk of MACE (UK HR 1.36, 95% CI 1.32–1.40, p<0.001: HK HR 1.25, 95% CI 1.21–1.28, p<0.001). Conclusions Patients with sub-optimal response to statins experienced significantly more MACE, regardless of baseline CVD risk. To enhance cholesterol management for primary prevention, statin response should be considered alongside risk assessment.

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RKA currently holds an NIHR-SPCR funded studentship (2018-2021)


Statins , , Medical risk factors , , Cholesterol , , Cardiovascular disease risk , , Cardiovascular diseases , , Hong Kong , , Lipoproteins , , Cardiovascular therapy