Purpose. The 1993 National Cholesterol Education Program guidelines recommend cholesterol screening for elderly patients with and without known coronary heart disease. This review summarizes clinical trial evidence from the medical literature that addresses cholesterol treatment in the elderly. Data Sources. References were obtained from a MEDLINE search, bibliographies, meta-analyses, and review articles. Study Inclusion and Exclusion Criteria. Randomized, controlled clinical trials, including all lipid intervention trials with elderly participants or subgroup analyses of the elderly designed to measure major cardiovascular disease endpoints, were selected. Data Extraction Methods. A MEDLINE search of all clinical trials using key search terms yielded 1360 references. Journal titles and abstracts were reviewed for all references by one of us (K.M.H.). A full journal review was undertaken for 41 references to clinical trials. Five clinical trials fulfilled all criteria and represented unique data. Data Synthesis. A MEDLINE search (from 1966 to January 2000) and bibliography reviews yielded five important clinical trials with analyses of elderly participants. Data are presented in text form and a summary table. Major Conclusions. Clinical trial evidence supports treating hyperlipidemia in elderly persons for secondary prevention of coronary heart disease. Evidence from four secondary prevention trials demonstrated that major coronary heart disease risk decreased by 25% to 30% in elderly subjects treated for 5 years. Unanswered questions include cholesterol treatment for primary prevention in the elderly, gender effect, and benefit of treatment in persons older than 70.
- Coronary Heart Disease