1. Lin, Jonathan BS
  2. Banathy, Alexandra BA
  3. Winters, Carla BSN, RN-BC
  4. Andersen, Lars BA
  5. Hudson, Cindy MSN, RN
  6. Testa, Heidi BSN, RN
  7. Reardon, Joy BSN, RN-BC
  8. Alagona, Peter Jr MD


Purpose: The 2013 American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Guideline on the Treatment of Blood Cholesterol to Reduce Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Risk in Adults recommends high-intensity statin therapy in patients aged <=75 y with clinical coronary artery disease (CAD). The effectiveness of cardiac rehabilitation (CR) in lipid management and guideline adherence is unknown. The purpose of this study is to determine whether CR participation affects guideline-driven achievement for statin use.


Methods: This multicenter retrospective study evaluated statin utilization in patients pre- and post-CR between January 1, 2014, and August 31, 2015. Records for patients with known CAD who completed 18 or more CR sessions were reviewed for statin-drug use and dose before and after CR and documented statin intolerance.


Results: Of the total 468 patients, 76% were male with mean age +/- SD = 66.0 +/- 10.8 y and range of 32 to 89 y. Patients aged <=75 y (n = 375) showed a modest but statistically significant increase (P = .0006) in high-intensity statin use post-CR (56.3%-61.1%). Males demonstrated a significant increase in high-intensity statin use (P = .0005). Of the 146 patients aged <=75 y not on high-intensity statins post-CR, only 21 had history of statin intolerance. Of the subjects aged >75 y (n = 93), 91% were already on high- or moderate-intensity statins with no significant change during CR.


Conclusions: Patients aged <=75 y following CR completion increased high-intensity statin use but only by 4.8% and 33% of subjects were inadequately treated. The updated 2013 treatment recommendations simplified statin use, yet substantial data continue to reveal that guideline achievement even post-CR remains limited.