JCL roundtable: Lipid treatment targets

Debra A. Friedrich, Dean G. Karalis, Karen E. Aspry, Seth S. Martin, John R. Guyton

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


This Roundtable discussion concerns atherogenic risk markers and treatment targets used by clinical lipidologists in daily practice. Our purpose is to understand the risk marker framework that supports and enables the new ACC/AHA/Multisociety Cholesterol Guidelines. Some biomarkers are highly associated with atherogenic risk but fail to qualify as treatment targets. Prominent examples are high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, for which targeted treatment has failed to reduce cardiovascular risk, and lipoprotein(a), which currently lacks a highly effective mode of treatment. As a consequence, guidelines have focused consistently on low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C)and more recently on non–high-density lipoprotein cholesterol. We discuss a new calculation for LDL-C that shows greater accuracy than the commonly performed Friedewald calculation. LDL-C treatment goals have renewed prominence in the 2018 Guidelines. Thresholds for treatment initiation or intensification inherently establish goals of reducing atherogenic cholesterol levels below the thresholds. Treatment goals may be absolute, such as less than 70 mg/dL for LDL-C in very high-risk secondary prevention or relative, such as 50% or greater reduction of LDL-C. The timeframe of treatment is another consideration because milder treatment started earlier may sometimes be preferred over stronger treatment given late in the course of atherosclerotic progression. Advanced lipid testing and vascular imaging, particularly coronary artery calcium, also have their place in risk assessment to guide clinical lipid practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)223-230
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of clinical lipidology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2019


  • Biomarkers
  • Cholesterol guidelines
  • Lipid treatment goals
  • Lipid treatment targets
  • Risk factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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