BACKGROUND: Nurse-coordinated care (NCC) improves the achievement of low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-C) targets after an acute coronary syndrome (ACS). We hypothesised that NCC improves achievement of LDL-C targets through more intensive medication titration.
METHODS: We used data from Randomised Evaluation of Secondary Prevention by Outpatient Nurse Specialists (RESPONSE), a multicentre randomised trial on the efficacy of NCC in 754 ACS patients. Follow-up data were collected at 6 and 12 months. To enable comparison between the various types and dosages of statins, we used the average lipid-lowering potency (ALLP, % LDL-C lowering) as an indicator of lipid-lowering medication intensity.
RESULTS: Most patients in NCC intervention and usual care groups (96%) had started lipid-lowering therapy during the index hospitalisation. At 6 months, titration activities (up or down) were applied in 45% of NCC patients compared with 24% of patients receiving usual care (p<0.001), and a difference was also seen at 12 months follow-up (52% vs 34%, p<0.001). In patients not on LDL-C target at baseline, titration activities at 6 months were recorded in 63% and 30% of NCC and usual care patients respectively (p<0.001), with increased titration activities in both groups at 12 months (69% vs 43%, p<0.001).
CONCLUSION: NCC is associated with more frequent and intense lipid-lowering medication titration to reach LDL-C targets as compared with usual care alone. Further, merely starting the guideline-recommended dose is insufficient to reach the guideline-recommended LDL-C target level.
TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: TC1290 (Netherlands).