Original Research21 April 2015
    Author, Article and Disclosure Information

    Evidence to guide primary prevention in adults aged 75 years or older is limited.


    To project the population impact and cost-effectiveness of statin therapy in adults aged 75 years or older.


    Forecasting study using the Cardiovascular Disease Policy Model, a Markov model.

    Data Sources:

    Trial, cohort, and nationally representative data sources.

    Target Population:

    U.S. adults aged 75 to 94 years.

    Time Horizon:

    10 years.


    Health care system.


    Statins for primary prevention based on low-density lipoprotein cholesterol threshold of 4.91 mmol/L (190 mg/dL), 4.14 mmol/L (160 mg/dL), or 3.36 mmol/L (130 mg/dL); presence of diabetes; or 10-year risk score of at least 7.5%.

    Outcome Measures:

    Myocardial infarction (MI), coronary heart disease (CHD) death, disability-adjusted life-years, and costs.

    Results of Base-Case Analysis:

    All adults aged 75 years or older in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey have a 10-year risk score greater than 7.5%. If statins had no effect on functional limitation or cognitive impairment, all primary prevention strategies would prevent MIs and CHD deaths and be cost-effective. Treatment of all adults aged 75 to 94 years would result in 8 million additional users and prevent 105 000 (4.3%) incident MIs and 68 000 (2.3%) CHD deaths at an incremental cost per disability-adjusted life-year of $25 200.

    Results of Sensitivity Analysis:

    An increased relative risk for functional limitation or mild cognitive impairment of 1.10 to 1.29 could offset the cardiovascular benefits.


    Limited trial evidence targeting primary prevention in adults aged 75 years or older.


    At effectiveness similar to that in trials, statins are projected to be cost-effective for primary prevention; however, even a small increase in geriatric-specific adverse effects could offset the cardiovascular benefit. Improved data on the potential benefits and harms of statins are needed to inform decision making.

    Primary Funding Source:

    American Heart Association Western States Affiliate, National Institute on Aging, and the National Institute for Diabetes on Digestive and Kidney Diseases.


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