Coronary atheroma is the principal cause of ischaemic heart disease. Among the factors considered to predispose to atheroma formation is raised plasma cholesterol and although it is regarded as a minor risk factor by some, others see its contribution as one of major importance. Whichever the view, the debate on plasma cholesterol and coronary heart disease (CHD) has long moved out of the exclusive domain of the scientific journal to the public arena and is reflected in the increasing frequency with which doctors are consulted by patients on the subject. The incidence of CHD in South-East Asian countries is also rising. For the practising clinician, the problem resolves itself into deciding if the evidence incriminating plasma cholesterol as a predisposing factor is strong enough, and if it is, what prophylactic and therapeutic steps are of value in reducing the incidence of CH D. An updated and brief review of lipid metabolism and the relationship of lipids to CHD is now necessary in view of the rapid accumulation of data from recent trials and prospective studies.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.