Heart 97:350-356 doi:10.1136/hrt.2010.204990
  • Review

Triglycerides and atherogenic dyslipidaemia: extending treatment beyond statins in the high-risk cardiovascular patient

  1. Fredrik Karpe2,3
  1. 1Metabolic Research Centre and Lipid Disorders Clinic, Royal Perth Hospital, School of Medicine and Pharmacology, University of Western Australia, Perth, Western Australia
  2. 2Oxford Centre for Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism, Nuffield Department of Medicine, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
  3. 3NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre, ORH Trust, OCDEM, Churchill Hospital, Oxford, UK
  1. Correspondence to Professor Gerald F Watts, School of Medicine and Pharmacology, University of Western Australia, GPO Box X2213, Perth, WA 6847, Western Australia; gerald.watts{at}
  • Accepted 2 November 2010


Although statins significantly decrease the incidence of cardiovascular disease (CVD), residual CVD risk remains high. This may partly be due to uncorrected atherogenic dyslipidaemia. The driving force behind atherogenic dyslipidaemia is hypertriglyceridaemia, which results from hepatic oversecretion and/or hypocatabolism of triglyceride-rich lipoproteins, and is typical of type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Persistent atherogenic dyslipidaemia in patients treated with a statin according to low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol goals may be corrected with niacin, fibrates or n–3 fatty acids. Clinical trial evidence to inform best practice is limited, but new data support adding fenofibrate to a statin. A consistent feature of fibrate clinical trials is the specific benefit of these agents in dyslipidaemic patients and the improvement in diabetic retinopathy with fenofibrate. Ongoing clinical trials may provide good evidence for adding niacin to a statin. Low-dose n–3 fatty acids could be used routinely after a myocardial infarction, but the value of higher doses of n-3 fatty acids in reducing CVD risk remains to be demonstrated.


  • Competing interests GFW has received honoraria for educational activities and scientific advisory boards from Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Merck-Schering Plough, Abbott, Sanofi-Aventis, Glaxo-Welcome, Novartis and Genfit.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.