Whether use of high-intensity statins is more important than achieving low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL -C) target remains controversial in patients with coronary artery disease. We sought to investigate the association between statin intensity and long-term clinical outcomes in patients achieving treatment target for LDL -C after percutaneous coronary intervention.
Between February 2003 and December 2014, 1746 patients who underwent percutaneous coronary intervention and achieved treatment target for LDL -C (<70 mg/dL or >50% reduction from baseline level) were studied. We classified patients into 2 groups according to an intensity of statin prescribed after index percutaneous coronary intervention: high-intensity statin group (atorvastatin 40 or 80 mg, and rosuvastatin 20 mg, 372 patients) and non-high-intensity statin group (the other statin treatment, 1374 patients). The primary outcome was a composite of cardiac death, myocardial infarction, or stroke.
Difference in time-averaged LDL -C during follow-up was significant, but small, between the high-intensity statin group and non-high-intensity statin group (59±13 versus 61±12 mg/dL; P=0.04). At 5 years, patients receiving high-intensity statins had a significantly lower incidence of the primary outcome than those treated with non-high-intensity statins (4.1% versus 9.9%; hazard ratio, 0.42; 95% confidence interval, 0.23-0.79; P<0.01). Results were consistent after propensity-score matching (4.2% versus 11.2%; hazard ratio, 0.36; 95% confidence interval, 0.19-0.69; P<0.01) and across various subgroups.
Among patients achieving treatment target for LDL -C after percutaneous coronary intervention, high-intensity statins were associated with a lower risk of major adverse cardiovascular events than non-high-intensity statins despite a small difference in achieved LDL -C level.