Lower rate of cholesterol testing during COVID-19 pandemic

Trends in cholesterol testing during the COVID-19 pandemic COVID-19 and cholesterol testing

Literature - Gumuser ED, Haidermota S, Finneran P et al., - Am J Prev Cardiol 2021, doi.org/10.1016/j.ajpc.2021.100152

Introduction and methods

Routine cholesterol screening and surveillance for individuals aged ≥40 years, especially those with established ASCVD, is recommended [1,2]. Data on cholesterol testing since the COVID-19 pandemic are limited. This study analyzed trends in cholesterol testing since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic using data from a healthcare system in New England.

This analysis used data of cholesterol and SARS-CoV2 testing performed in hospitals and outpatient centers in New England, USA from the MGB Research Patient Data Registry. Cholesterol testing of adults ≥40 years with ≥1 outpatient visit from March 4, 2020 through September 22, 2020 was compared to cholesterol testing of adults with ≥1 outpatient visit during the corresponding date range in 2019.

Main results

  • Mean (SD) weekly cholesterol tests performed in 2019 was 6361 (682) vs. 3867 (2373) in 2020 (P=2.6 x 10-5), an decline of 39.2%.
  • Greatest decline was observed with the ‘first wave’ (March-May 2020), with up to 92% reductions in weekly testing.
  • In the first 14 weeks of each study period (March through mid-June), mean (SD) weekly testing rates were 6669 (449() in 2019 vs. 1879 (1700) in 2020 (P=1.0 x10-7), a 71.8% decline in 2020. In June 2020, weekly testing increased, returning to 2019 levels in August 2020.


Using data from a large integrated healthcare system in New England, USA, an analysis demonstrated that volume of weekly cholesterol testing was almost 40% less between March-Sept 2020 than the same period in 2019. ‘Mechanisms for safely facilitating cholesterol testing and management for high-risk patients will be important as COVID-19 re-surges’, the authors wrote.


1. Bibbins-Domingo K , Grossman DC , Curry SJ , Davidson KW , Epling JW , Garcia FAR , et al. Statin use for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease in adults: US preventive services task force recommendation statement. JAMA 2016;316:1997–2007 .

2. Grundy SM , Stone NJ , Bailey AL , Beam C , Birtcher KK , Blumenthal RS , et al. 2018 AHA/ACC/AACVPR/AAPA/ABC/ACPM/ADA/AGS/APhA/ASPC/NLA/PCNA guide- line on the management of blood cholesterol: a report of the American college of cardiology/American heart association task force on clinical practice guidelines. Circulation 2019;139:e1082–143 .

Find this article online at Am J Prev Cardiol

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