Reducing low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol with lipid-lowering therapy has consistently been shown to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease in primary prevention trials where the majority of individuals are aged <70 years. For older individuals, however, evidence is less clear.
In this study, the authors sought to compare the clinical effectiveness of lowering LDL cholesterol by means of lipid-lowering therapy for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease among older and younger individuals in a Danish nationwide cohort.
We included individuals aged ≥50 years who had initiated lipid-lowering therapy from January 1, 2008, to October 31, 2017, had no history of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, and had a baseline and a within-1-year LDL cholesterol measurement. We assessed the associated risk of major vascular events among older individuals (≥70 years) by HRs per 1 mmol/L reduction in LDL cholesterol compared with younger individuals (<70 years).
For both the 16,035 older and the 49,155 younger individuals, the median LDL cholesterol reduction was 1.7 mmol/L. Each 1 mmol/L reduction in LDL cholesterol in older individuals was significantly associated with a 23% lower risk of major vascular events (HR: 0.77; 95% CI: 0.71-0.83), which was equal to that of younger individuals (HR: 0.76; 95% CI: 0.71-0.80; P value for difference = 0.79). Similar results were observed across all secondary analyses.
Our study supports a relative clinical benefit of lowering LDL cholesterol for primary prevention of major vascular events in individuals aged ≥70 years similarly as in individuals aged <70 years.