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Association between triglycerides and cardiovascular events in primary populations: a meta-regression analysis and synthesis of evidence

Authors Stauffer ME, Weisenfluh L, Morrison A

Received 9 August 2013

Accepted for publication 24 September 2013

Published 31 October 2013 Volume 2013:9 Pages 671—680


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Melissa E Stauffer, Lauren Weisenfluh, Alan Morrison


Background: Triglyceride levels were found to be independently predictive of the development of primary coronary heart disease in epidemiologic studies. The objective of this study was to determine whether triglyceride levels were predictive of cardiovascular events in randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of lipid-modifying drugs.
Methods: We performed a systematic review and meta-regression analysis of 40 RCTs of lipid-modifying drugs with cardiovascular events as an outcome. The log of the rate ratio of cardiovascular events (eg, coronary death or myocardial infarction) was plotted against the proportional difference between treatment and control groups in triglyceride and other lipid levels (high density lipoprotein cholesterol [HDL-C], low density lipoprotein cholesterol [LDL-C], and total cholesterol) for all trials and for trials of primary and secondary prevention populations. Linear regression was used to determine the statistical significance of the relationship between lipid values and cardiovascular events.
Results: The proportional difference in triglyceride levels was predictive of cardiovascular events in all trials (P=0.005 for the slope of the regression line; N=40) and in primary prevention trials (P=0.010; N=11), but not in secondary prevention trials (P=0.114; N=25). The proportional difference in HDL-C was not predictive of cardiovascular events in all trials (P=0.822; N=40), or in trials of primary (P=0.223; N=11) or secondary (P=0.487; N=25) prevention. LDL-C levels were predictive of cardiovascular events in both primary (P=0.002; N=11) and secondary (P<0.001; N=25) populations.
Conclusions: Changes in triglyceride levels were predictive of cardiovascular events in RCTs. This relationship was significant in primary prevention populations but not in secondary prevention populations.

Keywords: cardiovascular diseases, triglycerides, cholesterol, risk factors

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