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Statin use in adults at high risk of cardiovascular disease mortality: cross-sectional analysis of baseline data from The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA)
  1. Catriona Murphy1,
  2. Kathleen Bennett2,
  3. Tom Fahey3,
  4. Emer Shelley4,
  5. Ian Graham5,
  6. Rose Anne Kenny1
  1. 1Department of Medical Gerontology, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland
  2. 2Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland
  3. 3Department of General Practice, HRB Centre for Primary Care Research, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Medical School, Dublin, Ireland
  4. 4Department of Public Health, Health Service Executive, Dublin, Ireland
  5. 5Department of Cardiology, Tallaght Hospital, Dublin, Ireland
  1. Correspondence to Dr Catriona Murphy; Catriona.murphy{at}


Objectives This study aims to examine the extent to which statins are used by adults at high risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) compared to European clinical guidelines. The high-risk groups examined are those with (1) known CVD, (2) known diabetes and (3) a high or very high risk (≥5%) of CVD mortality based on Systematic COronary Risk Evaluation (SCORE).

Design This study is cross-sectional in design using data from the first wave (2009–2011) of The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA).

Setting and participants The sample (n=3372) is representative of community living adults aged 50–64 years in Ireland.

Results Statins were used by 68.6% (95% CI 61.5% to 75.8%) of those with known CVD, 57.4% (95% CI 49.1% to 65.7%) of those with known diabetes and by 19.7% (95% CI 13.0% to 26.3%) of adults with a SCORE risk ≥5%. Over a third (38.5%, 95% CI 31.0% to 46.0%) of those with known CVD, 46.8% (95% CI 38.4% to 55.1%) of those with known diabetes and 85.2% (95% CI 79.3% to 91.1%) of those with a SCORE risk ≥5% were at or above the low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) target of 2.5 mmol/L specified in the 2007 European guidelines.

Conclusions Despite strong evidence and clinical guidelines recommending the use of statins for secondary prevention, a gap exists between guidelines and practice in this cohort. It is also of concern that a low proportion of adults with a SCORE risk ≥5% were taking statins. A policy response that strengthens secondary prevention, and improves risk assessment and shared decision-making in the primary prevention of CVD is required.


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