HealthDay News — Most older Americans qualify for statin treatment under the new guidelines for treatment of blood cholesterol released in 2013 by the American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the American Heart Association (AHA), according to a research letter published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

“This risk-based approach is a paradigm shift from prior Adult Treatment Panel (ATP) III guidelines that were influenced heavily by thresholds for low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels,” explained Michael Miedema, MD, MPH, of the Minneapolis Heart Institute in  Minneapolis, Minnesota, and colleagues.

To analyze the potential effect of the new guidelines and contemporary use of statins in older black and white patients, the investigators studied 6,088 patients aged 66 to 90 years enrolled in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) cohort.

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Of the patients, 70% were eligible for statin therapy, including 97% aged 66 to 75 years and all of the men. Statin therapy for patients with cardiovascular disease (CVD), diabetes, or high cholesterol levels is recommended. It is also recommended for patients who don’t have these conditions but do have a 7.5% risk of heart attack or stroke in the next ten years based on a risk calculator.

“The effect of the new guidelines on older individuals is important because they are at high risk for CVD but also may be prone to the adverse effects of statin use,” wrote the researchers.


  1. Meidema MD et al. JAMA Intern Med. 2014; doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.6288