Triglyceride-rich lipoproteins and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol in patients at high risk of cardiovascular disease: Evidence and guidance for management

M. John Chapman, Henry N. Ginsberg, Pierre Amarenco, Felicita Andreotti, Jan Borén, Alberico L. Catapano, Olivier S. Descamps, Edward Fisher, Petri T. Kovanen, Jan Albert Kuivenhoven, Philippe Lesnik, Luis Masana, Børge G. Nordestgaard, Kausik K. Ray, Zeljko Reiner, Marja Riitta Taskinen, Lale Tokgözoglu, Anne Tybjærg-Hansen, Gerald F. Watts

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1023 Scopus citations


Even at low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) goal, patients with cardiometabolic abnormalities remain at high risk of cardiovascular events. This paper aims (i) to critically appraise evidence for elevated levels of triglyceride-rich lipoproteins (TRLs) and low levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) as cardiovascular risk factors, and (ii) to advise on therapeutic strategies for management. Current evidence supports a causal association between elevated TRL and their remnants, low HDL-C, and cardiovascular risk. This interpretation is based on mechanistic and genetic studies for TRL and remnants, together with the epidemiological data suggestive of the association for circulating triglycerides and cardiovascular disease. For HDL, epidemiological, mechanistic, and clinical intervention data are consistent with the view that low HDL-C contributes to elevated cardiovascular risk; genetic evidence is unclear however, potentially reflecting the complexity of HDL metabolism. The Panel believes that therapeutic targeting of elevated triglycerides (<1.7 mmol/L or 150 mg/dL), a marker of TRL and their remnants, and/or low HDL-C (<1.0 mmol/L or 40 mg/dL) may provide further benefit. The first step should be lifestyle interventions together with consideration of compliance with pharmacotherapy and secondary causes of dyslipidaemia. If inadequately corrected, adding niacin or a fibrate, or intensifying LDL-C lowering therapy may be considered. Treatment decisions regarding statin combination therapy should take into account relevant safety concerns, i.e. the risk of elevation of blood glucose, uric acid or liver enzymes with niacin, and myopathy, increased serum creatinine and cholelithiasis with fibrates. These recommendations will facilitate reduction in the substantial cardiovascular risk that persists in patients with cardiometabolic abnormalities at LDL-C goal.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1345-1361
Number of pages17
JournalEuropean Heart Journal
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Atherogenic dyslipidaemia
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Cholesterol
  • Guidelines
  • High-density lipoprotein cholesterol
  • Remnants
  • Triglyceride-rich lipoproteins
  • Triglycerides


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