Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the management of risk factors in patients with stable atherosclerotic vascular disease rights and content
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  • The COVID-19 pandemic had variable effects on risk factor control in ASCVD patients.

  • During the pandemic risk factors were more likely to be unmonitored.

  • Overall risk factor control remained suboptimal both before and during the COVID-19 pandemic.



Effective control of risk factors in patients with ASCVD is important to reduce recurrent cardiovascular events. However, many ASCVD patients do not have their risk factors controlled, and this may have worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic.


We retrospectively evaluated risk factor control among 24,760 ASCVD patients who had at least 1 outpatient encounter both pre-pandemic and during the first year of the pandemic. Risk factors were uncontrolled if the blood pressure (BP) ≥ 130/80 mm Hg, LDL-C ≥ 70 mg/dL, HgbA1c ≥ 7 for diabetic patients, and patients were current smokers.


During the pandemic, many patients had their risk factors unmonitored. BP control worsened (BP ≥ 130/80 mmHg, 64.2 vs 65.7%; p = 0.01), while lipid management improved with more patients on a high-intensity statin (38.9 vs 43.9%; p<0.001) and more achieving an LDL-C < 70 mg/dL, less patients were smoking (7.4 vs 6.7%; p<0.001), and diabetic control was unchanged pre vs during the pandemic. Black (OR 1.53 [1.02–2.31]) and younger aged patients (OR 1.008 [1.001–1.015]) were significantly more likely to have missing or uncontrolled risk factors during the pandemic.


During the pandemic risk factors were more likely to be unmonitored. While measured blood pressure control worsened, lipid control and smoking improved. Although some cardiovascular risk factor control improved during the COVID-19 pandemic, overall control of cardiovascular risk factors in patients with ASCVD was suboptimal, especially in Black and younger patients. This puts many ASCVD patients at increased risk of a recurrent cardiovascular event.


Risk factors

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