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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Systematic study of the effects of lowering low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol on regression of coronary atherosclerotic plaques using intravascular ultrasound

Wen-Qian Gao12, Quan-Zhou Feng1*, Yu-Feng Li1, Yuan-Xin Li3, Ya Huang1, Yan-Ming Chen1, Bo Yang1 and Cai-Yi Lu1*

Author Affiliations

1 The Department of Cardiology, Chinese PLA General Hospital, Beijing 100853, China

2 The First Department of Geriatric Cardiology, Chinese PLA General Hospital, Beijing 100853, China

3 Navy Wangshoulu Clinics, Xicui Road, Beijing 100036, China

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BMC Cardiovascular Disorders 2014, 14:60  doi:10.1186/1471-2261-14-60

Published: 2 May 2014

Abstract

Background

Conflicting results currently exist on the effects of LDL-C levels and statins therapy on coronary atherosclerotic plaque, and the target level of LDL-C resulting in the regression of the coronary atherosclerotic plaques has not been settled.

Methods

PubMed, EMBASE, and Cochrane databases were searched from Jan. 2000 to Jan. 2014 for randomized controlled or blinded end-points trials assessing the effects of LDL-C lowering therapy on regression of coronary atherosclerotic plaque (CAP) in patients with coronary heart disease by intravascular ultrasound. Data concerning the study design, patient characteristics, and outcomes were extracted. The significance of plaques regression was assessed by computing standardized mean difference (SMD) of the volume of CAP between the baseline and follow-up. SMD were calculated using fixed or random effects models.

Results

Twenty trials including 5910 patients with coronary heart disease were identified. Mean lowering LDL-C by 45.4% and to level 66.8 mg/dL in the group of patients with baseline mean LDL-C 123.7 mg/dL, mean lowering LDL-C by 48.8% and to level 60.6 mg/dL in the group of patients with baseline mean LDL-C 120 mg/dL, and mean lowering LDL-C by 40.4% and to level 77.8 mg/dL in the group of patients with baseline mean LDL-C 132.4 mg/dL could significantly reduce the volume of CAP at follow up (SMD −0.108 mm3, 95% CI −0.176 ~ −0.040, p = 0.002; SMD −0.156 mm3, 95% CI −0.235 ~ −0.078, p = 0.000; SMD −0.123 mm3, 95% CI −0.199 ~ −0.048, p = 0.001; respectively). LDL-C lowering by rosuvastatin (mean 33 mg daily) and atorvastatin (mean 60 mg daily) could significantly decrease the volumes of CAP at follow up (SMD −0.162 mm3, 95% CI: −0.234 ~ −0.081, p = 0.000; SMD −0.101, 95% CI: −0.184 ~ −0.019, p = 0.016; respectively). The mean duration of follow up was from 17 ~ 21 months.

Conclusions

Intensive lowering LDL-C (rosuvastatin mean 33 mg daily and atorvastatin mean 60 mg daily) with >17 months of duration could lead to the regression of CAP, LDL-C level should be reduced by >40% or to a target level <78 mg/dL for regressing CAP.

Keywords:
Low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol; Coronary atherosclerotic plaque; Intravascular ultrasound; Coronary artery disease