Is Lipid-Lowering Therapy Underused by African Americans at High Risk of Coronary Heart Disease Within the VA Health Care System?

This study examined whether racial differences exist in cholesterol monitoring, use of lipid-lowering agents and achievement of guideline-recommended low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels for secondary prevention of coronary heart disease. The authors reviewed charts for 1,045 African-American and White patients with coronary heart disease at five Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals. Lipid levels were obtained in 67.0 percent of patients. White and African Americans had similar screening rates and mean lipid levels. Among the 544 ideal candidates for therapy, rates of treatment and achievement of target LDL levels were similar.

No disparities in cholesterol management were discovered. The authors conclude that the absence of disparities may be attributed to VA quality improvement initiatives or prescription coverage through the VA health care system.