ACC, AHA update lipid performance measures.
Updated performance measures regarding lipid management for secondary prevention, introducing and placing great emphasis on shared decision making between clinicians and patients, have been released jointly by the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association.
"These measures respect the wishes of patients regarding the use of statins and do not penalize physicians who may have a patient decline to take the medications for personal reasons," Dr. Joseph P. Drozda Jr., chair of the update's writing committee, said in a statement accompanying the release.
"Integrating patient values, preferences, and personal context with evidence-based medicine and guidelines is novel and changes the focus from recommending and prescribing statins ... to promoting choice by an informed patient," said Dr. Drozda, director of outcomes research at Mercy Health, St. Louis.
Performance measures are intended to accelerate the translation of scientific evidence into clinical practice, and they are rapidly updated whenever there are changes to a relevant ACC/AHA guideline. In this case, lipid management performance measures needed updating because of new recommendations in the most recent ACC/AHA Guideline on the Treatment of Blood Cholesterol to Reduce Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Risk in Adults (Circulation. 2014 Jun 24;129[25 Suppl 2]:S1-45). The new recommendations emphasized treatment with high-intensity statin therapy instead of achieving LDL cholesterol targets.
In accordance with that, the lipid performance measures have been revised in four areas of lipid management: in secondary prevention for patients who have peripheral artery disease, STEMI or non-STEMI myocardial infarction, percutaneous coronary intervention, and coronary artery disease/ hypertension. In addition, a new performance measure has been added addressing clinical atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.
Abundant research has shown that only a fraction of patients with peripheral artery disease, MI, percutaneous coronary intervention, and coronary artery disease / hypertension who would benefit greatly from statin therapy are actually taking it, and that those who do take statins generally are receiving suboptimal doses. Studies also have clearly demonstrated that more intensive statin regimens reduce adverse cardiovascular events even further in these patient populations, Dr. Drozda and his associates said (J Am Coll Cardiol. 2015 Dec 13. [doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2015.02.003]).
"Better patient outcomes are realized only if patients agree with, act on, and adhere to [statin recommendations] for 5-10 years." At present, up to half of patients prescribed statins for secondary prevention discontinue the drugs within 1-2 years, they noted.
"Clinicians need to embrace the concept that evidence-based medicine and guidelines alone are not sufficient to make a [treatment] recommendation or a decision; rather, the evidence has to be considered from the viewpoint of what matters to individual patients," Dr. Drozda and his associates said.
One strategy to address all possible reasons for nonadherence and to accomplish shared decision making is for the clinician at every office visit to review the medication list; ask about adverse effects, cost, and adherence; and discuss barriers to adherence, the investigators said.
The updated lipid performance measures are available at www.acc.org. This work was supported exclusively by the ACC and the AHA.
Caption: DR. DROZDA
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