Impact of increases in high-density lipoprotein cholesterol on cardiovascular outcomes during the armed forces regression study.

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INTRODUCTION: high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol is a well-established inverse risk factor for cardiovascular disease. The extent to which cardiovascular risk can be modified through changes in HDL, however, is less clear. We further examined the role of aggressive HDL raising therapy on cardiovascular outcomes in the 143 patients enrolled in the Armed Forces Regression Study (AFREGS). METHODS: reanalysis of the AFREGS population. Patients with stable coronary disease were randomized to receive gemfibrozil, niacin, and cholestyramine in combination or matching placebos, on top of aggressive dietary and exercise modification for a 30-month period. Blood work was performed at baseline and repeated after 1 year of therapy. RESULTS: patients were divided into 3 groups based on their therapeutic response: no HDL increase, mild HDL increase, and large HDL increase (% change in HDL ≤ 0, ≤ the lower 2 tertiles of HDL increase, and > the upper tertile of HDL increase, respectively). A progressive decrease in cardiovascular events was noted across these groups (30.4%, 19.4%, and 3.2%, respectively, P = .01). Kaplan-Meier analysis according to percentage change in HDL demonstrated a similar improvement in event-free survival (P = .01). Proportional hazards modeling also demonstrated that increasing HDL predicted a lower hazard of cardiovascular events, even after adjusting for changes in low-density lipoprotein ([LDL] P < .01). For every 1% increase in HDL achieved, a 2% decrease in events was recognized. CONCLUSIONS: these data suggest that in a population of patients with stable atherosclerosis, the greater the percentage increase in HDL achieved, the greater the cardioprotective benefit. This further supports HDL raising as a beneficial therapeutic strategy.





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Devendra, Ganesh P, Edwin J Whitney and Richard A Krasuski (2010). Impact of increases in high-density lipoprotein cholesterol on cardiovascular outcomes during the armed forces regression study. J Cardiovasc Pharmacol Ther, 15(4). pp. 380–383. 10.1177/1074248410374041 Retrieved from

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Richard Andrew Krasuski

Professor of Medicine

Dr. Richard Krasuski is Director of the Adult Congenital Heart Center at Duke University Medical Center, the Director of Hemodynamic Research, and the Medical Director of the CTEPH Program. He is considered a thought leader in the fields of pulmonary hypertension and congenital heart disease. His research focus is in epidemiologic and clinical studies involving patients with pulmonary hypertension and patients with congenital heart disease. He is involved in multiple multicenter studies through the Alliance for Adult Research in Congenital Cardiology (AARCC). He has also helped to develop multiple research databases in these patient populations. He is Co-PI in the upcoming EPIPHANY Study examining the impact of medical and transcatheter interventions on RV-PA coupling in patients with chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension. Over his career he has mentored over 80 students, residents and fellows and has published over 300 peer reviewed publications, book chapters and meeting abstracts. He is also the Chief Editor of Advances in Pulmonary Hypertension and on the editorial boards of several leading medical journals.

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