Global Variation in the Prevalence of Elevated Cholesterol in Outpatients with Established Vascular Disease or 3 Cardiovascular Risk Factors According to National Indices of Economic Development and Health System Performance
Background—Elevated serum cholesterol accounts for a considerable proportion of cardiovascular disease worldwide. An understanding of the relationship between country-level economic and health system factors and elevated cholesterol may provide insight for prioritization of cardiovascular prevention programs.
Methods and Results—Using hierarchical models, we examined the relationship between elevated total cholesterol (>200 mg/dL) in 53,570 outpatients from 36 countries, and tertiles of several country-level indices: (1) gross national income (GNI), (2) total expenditure on health as % gross domestic product, (3) government expenditure on health as % of total expenditure on health, (4) out-of-pocket expenditures as % of private expenditure on health, and the World Health Organization (WHO) indices of (5) Health System Achievement (HAI) and (6) Performance/Efficiency. Overall, 38% of outpatients had total cholesterol>200 mg/dL (>5.18 mmol/L), and 9.3% of the total variability in elevated cholesterol was at the country level; this proportion was higher for patients with (12.1%) vs. without (7.4%) history of hyperlipidemia. Among patients with history of hyperlipidemia, countries in the highest tertile of GNI or WHO HAI had lower odds of elevated cholesterol than lower tertiles (p<0.001, for both). Countries in the highest tertile of out-of-pocket health expenditures had higher odds of elevated cholesterol than those in the lowest tertile (p<0.001). No significant associations were found for patients without history of hyperlipidemia.
Conclusions—Global variations in the prevalence of elevated cholesterol among patients with history of hyperlipidemia are associated with country-level economic development and health system indices. These results support the need for strengthening efforts toward effective cardiovascular disease prevention and control, and may provide insight for health policy setting at the national level.
- cardiovascular disease
- cholesterol reduction
- Global trends
- Health system performance
- National health expenditures
- Received August 24, 2011.
- Accepted March 1, 2012.
- Copyright © 2012, American Heart Association, Inc. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use prohibited