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Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the most frequent cause of death in Austria. The European Society of Cardiology (ESC)/European Atherosclerosis Society (EAS) guidelines recommend intensive lipid lowering therapy (LLT) in patients at high or very high CV risk. Lipid management and achievement of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) goals in Austria have not recently been assessed.
Subgroup analysis for Austria of a European 18 country, cross-sectional, observational study. Patients received LLT for primary (PP) or secondary prevention (SP). Data including LLT in the preceding 12 months and most recent LDL‑C were collected during a single visit between June 2017 and November 2018. Achievement of the risk-based 2016 and 2019 ESC/EAS LDL‑C goal while receiving stabilized LLT was assessed.
A total of 293 patients were enrolled from 8 Austrian sites, of which 200 (PP = 104, SP = 96) received stabilized LLT at the LDL‑C measurement date. Overall, 58% (71% PP, 43% SP) and 38% (52% PP, 23% SP) achieved the risk-based 2016 and 2019 goals, respectively. Most patients received moderate-intensity statin monotherapy (46%), while 34% used high-intensity statin monotherapy. Combination therapy of moderate/high-intensity statin with ezetimibe (12%), or proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (PCSK9) inhibitors with statin ± ezetimibe (1%), was used infrequently.
The current Austrian routine lipid management using mainly moderate-intensity or high-intensity statin monotherapy is insufficient to attain ESC/EAS guideline goals, in particular the more stringent 2019 recommendations, a situation comparable to other participating European countries. In addition to switching to and optimizing doses of high-intensity statins, a combination with ezetimibe or PCSK9 inhibitors will be needed in many cases.