Clinical Edge

Summaries of Must-Read Clinical Literature, Guidelines, and FDA Actions

LDL-C Levels and the Risk of Sepsis

JAMA Netw Open; ePub 2019 Jan 18; Feng, et al

In patients hospitalized with infection, levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) are not directly associated with the risk of sepsis or poor outcomes, a new study found. The study identified a cohort of white adult patients admitted to the hospital with infection. Interventions included and clinically measured LDL-C levels and a genetic risk score (GRS). The primary outcome was sepsis; secondary outcomes included admission to an intensive care unit (ICU) and in-hospital death. Researchers found:

  • Among the 3,961 patients with clinically measured LDL-C levels (57.8% women, mean age 64.1 years) and the 7,804 with a GRS for LDL-C (54.0% men, mean age 59.8 years), lower measured LDL-C levels were significantly associated with increased odds of sepsis, but not in-hospital mortality.
  • However, this association was due to comorbidities, and the genetic model showed no increased risk.
  • Levels of LDL-C do not appear to directly alter the risk of sepsis or poor outcomes in this population.


Feng Q, Wei W, Chaugai S, et al. Association between low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels and risk for sepsis among patients admitted to the hospital with infection. [Published online ahead of print January 18, 2019]. JAMA Netw Open. 2019;2(1):e187223. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2018.7223.