BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE:
Statins reduce the risk of myocardial infarction and stroke in patients with vascular disease. Inappropriate serum lipid determination and underuse of statins have been documented in patients with coronary artery disease. Evaluation of hyperlipidemia and treatment with statins in patients with recent ischemic cerebrovascular events have not yet been investigated.
We determined the frequency of total cholesterol (TC) and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol measurements and the use of statins in a multicenter prospective cohort study of 1743 patients with acute ischemic stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA). Using multivariate logistic regression analysis, we determined the influence of several clinical variables on lipid measurements and the prescription of statins at hospital discharge.
TC was measured in 90% and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol was measured in 48% of the patients. Differences between the centers accounted for most of the observed variability in a multivariate model. Statin prescription also varied widely between the centers. The prescription of a statin at discharge was most strongly associated with statin intake before the event and with increasing TC levels; elderly patients received statins less often. Coronary artery disease, peripheral artery disease, and other manifestations of atherosclerosis were not independently associated with the use of statins; 68% of the patients with manifest atherosclerosis and TC levels >200 mg/dL were discharged without a statin.
The determination of serum lipid profiles varies widely between different centers. Statins are highly underused in patients with recent ischemic stroke or TIA, particularly in those in whom statins are indicated according to existing recommendations (eg, patients with additional coronary artery disease and hypercholesterolemia). Currently, international guidelines concerning the use of statins are not adequately implemented in clinical practice in patients with stroke or TIA.