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Patients whose levels of HDL cholesterol rise while on lipid-lowering treatments are at substantially reduced cardiovascular risk, a new UK study concludes.

The research, based on 5,510 patients in Tayside, Scotland, found a rise in HDL cholesterol of 20 per cent reduced cardiovascular risk by 40 per cent.

Patients whose HDL cholesterol rose by more than 20 per cent had 23.5 events per 1,000 person-years, compared with 42.6 events per 1,000 person-years in those whose HDL cholesterol did not rise.

Study researcher Dr Michael Murphy, senior lecturer in biochemical medicine at the University of Dundee, said: 'Rising HDL is an independent predictor of reduced coronary events. It confirms the importance of HDL cholesterol in cardiovascular risk.'

The study, published online in Heart last week, did not find a significant association between HDL change and cardiovascular outcome in patients who had been hospitalised for cardiovascular disease or were not on lipid-lowering drug treatment.

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