Lipid management guidelines from the departments of veteran affairs and defense: A critique

Document Type

Review Article


Cardiology; Office of the Provost


In December 2014, the US Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense (VA/DoD) published an independent clinical practice guideline for the management of dyslipidemia and cardiovascular disease risk, adding to the myriad of recently published guidelines on this topic. The VA/DoD guidelines differ from major US guidelines published by the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association in 2013 in the following ways: recommending moderate-intensity statins for the majority of patients with statin indications regardless of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease risk; advocating for limited on-treatment lipid monitoring; and deemphasizing ancillary data, such as coronary artery calcium testing, to improve atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease risk estimation. In the context of manifold treatment recommendations from numerous guideline committees, the VA/DoD recommendations may generate further confusion and mixed messages among healthcare providers about the optimal treatment of dyslipidemia. In this review, we critically appraise the VA/DoD recommendations with a focus on the evidence base for each area where the VA/DoD guidelines differ from the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association guidelines. We also call for harmonization of lipid treatment guidelines to ensure high-quality and consistent care for patients with, and at risk for, atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.


This work was published before the author joined Aga Khan University.

Publication (Name of Journal)

The American Journal of Medicine