During the coronavirus pandemic, HEART UK is mindful that patients undergoing routine assessment and treatment of their cholesterol should continue to be managed appropriately and maintain overall good health.
For healthcare professionals responsible for these areas, we would encourage the following steps are taken:
1. Patients with suspected familial hypercholesterolaemia (high cholesterol in the absence of secondary causes and a family history of premature cardiovascular disease) should be started on a statin as recommended in NICE (CG71). The recommended minimum for most otherwise healthy individuals would be 20mg of Atorvastatin OD.
2. Patients due to have a follow-up cholesterol test following lifestyle changes may need to have their treatment decision delayed. They should, however, continue with lifestyle changes, unless their most recent result met the criteria for familial hypercholesterolaemia screening. These patients would usually be advised to receive 20mg of Atorvastatin OD .
3. Patients due to have a follow-up cholesterol test after starting statins who are symptom-free may have to have their appointment deferred depending on the capacity of your service, but should continue their medication.
4. Patients experiencing side effects should be offered a telephone appointment to review their symptoms, their dose and/or type of statin.
It's important to note that statins not only lower levels of LDL cholesterol, but can also help to stabilise plaque in the arteries.
Delaying prescriptions may negatively impact patients by increasing their risk of a heart attack or stroke.