What Should Cholesterol Levels Be After Heart Attack?

Last Editorial Review: 1/11/2018

Ask the experts

Why is low cholesterol important for post MI and post CABG patients? What level is considered too low or dangerous?

Doctor's response

Especially in patients with proven coronary artery disease (such as patient with heart attacks or who have undergone coronary bypass surgery), doctors recommend aggressive treatment to lower elevated blood cholesterol (hypercholesterolemia).

After successfully controlling hypercholesterolemia for prolonged periods, studies have shown regression of atherosclerosis of blood vessels and improvement in coronary artery narrowing in some patients. More importantly, even those treated patients that do not experience improvement in artery narrowing tend to have lower risk of heart attacks and stroke. Optimally lowering blood cholesterol is believed to stabilize cholesterol plaques and lower the chance of blood clot formation over these plaques. It was the blood clots forming over cholesterol plaques that caused blockage of arteries and heart attacks.

The Medical Editors are not aware of any dangers of too low levels of cholesterol.