Despite guideline-directed statin therapy, the majority of patients with severe hypercholesterolemia and other high-risk populations continue to have a substantial residual risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). In patients with severe or resistant hypercholesterolemia, new and emerging treatments to reduce low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) offer additional options to control CVD risk.
To address the gap in care of patients with severe or resistant hypercholesterolemia and enhance awareness about emerging agents, an educational series comprised of five 1-hour lectures was developed by a steering committee of two expert faculty. The content was developed to provide guideline-driven information and clinical trial data on reducing LDL-C levels in patients with severe or resistant hypercholesterolemia who are at high risk for CVD. The activities were held in conjunction with regional chapter meetings of the American College of Cardiology (ACC).
To date, three lectures have taken place, with a total of 186 participants attending. Nearly three-quarters of attendees were MDs/DOs, 62% of whom specialized in cardiology. The majority of participants (60%) reported seeing more than 60 patients with hypercholesterolemia each month. The activity content was found to be highly relevant to the participating clinicians, with 99% agreeing it prepared them to better care for patients and gave them tools/knowledge to change practices to improve care. Interestingly, even in this highly-experienced group of cardiologists, as many as 69% of participants indicated that at least half of the content was new to them.
Preliminary outcome findings demonstrate that participation increased attendee confidence regarding their management of patients with severe/resistant hypercholesterolemia who are at risk for major adverse cardiovascular events. At baseline, 60% of participants felt “confident,” “very confident,” or “expert,” which rose to 90% post activity. After the activity, 78% of participants reported that they will increase monitoring of patient LDL-C levels to assess compliance and response to therapy after participating in this activity, indicating that the education has the potential to positively impact the care of patients with severe or resistant hypercholesterolemia who are at risk of CVD.
Early results also suggested improved knowledge regarding the degree of reduction in the risk of major adverse CVD events with LDL-C reduction to 50 mg/dL (pre-test, 25%; post-test, 73%; P<0.005); the impact of statins on CVD risk (pre-test, 23%; post-test, 56%; P<0.005); and the beneficial impact of LDL-C reduction on the rates of adverse clinical events (pre-test, 42%; post-test, 71%; P<0.005). Improved post-test knowledge was also observed regarding agents for lipid reduction, including CTEP inhibitors, which are still in development (pre-test, 20%; post-test, 80%; P<0.005); identifying the drug class for PCSK9 inhibitors (pre-test, 77%; post-test, 97%; P<0.005); and the indication of a microsomal triglyceride transfer protein inhibitor and an oligonucleotide inhibitor of apo B-100 synthesis (pre-test, 48%; post-test, 90%; P<0.005).
Based on the calculation of the effect size, it is estimated that the cardiologists who attended the activity are 55.4% more likely to deliver evidence-based care to the 83,000 patients seen each year with severe/resistant hypercholesterolemia who are at risk for major adverse cardiovascular events.
In conclusion, while additional data are needed, these preliminary observations support the concept that this regional lecture series has a positive impact on cardiologists’ knowledge, confidence, and practice in managing patients with severe or resistant hypercholesterolemia. In addition to collecting more data from participants at the remaining two venues, we will collect insights into their practice changes during a follow-up survey sent approximately 6 weeks after each live activity.
The initiative, “Managing Severe or Resistant Hypercholesterolemia: The Next Generation of LDL-C Lowering Agents,” is jointly provided by the Potomac Center for Medical Education and Rockpointe and supported by an educational grant from Amgen. The Potomac Center for Medical Education is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians.
Carole Drexel, PhD, CHCP, Rockpointe Corporation and Potomac Center for Medical Education, Columbia, MD
Kathy Merlo, CHCP, Rockpointe Corporation and Potomac Center for Medical Education, Columbia, MD
Leanne Berger, Rockpointe Corporation and Potomac Center for Medical Education, Columbia, MD
Thomas Sullivan, Rockpointe Corporation and Potomac Center for Medical Education, Columbia, MD