Cardiometabolic memory has been proposed based on clinical evidence to explain how, even after the cessation of a clinical trial, the superiority of one treatment over the outcome persists. To understand the cardiometabolic memory phenomenon, we performed a systematic review of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) using PubMed in August 2016. The search terms randomized controlled trial', post-trial follow-up' and diabetes, hypertension or dyslipidemia' were used, and articles published after the year 2000 were searched. We judged the memory phenomenon to be positive when the cardiovascular outcome at the end of the post-trial follow-up period in the intervention group was significantly superior even though the favorable control of a risk factor (blood glucose, blood pressure or lipid level) during the trial period was lost after the cessation of the intervention. Among 907 articles retrieved in the initial screening, 21 articles were judged as describing a positive memory phenomenon. Eight, six and seven of the articles concerned diabetes, hypertension and dyslipidemia, respectively. Transient intensive glucose lowering rather easily induced memory for the suppression of diabetic microangiopathies, while memory for the suppression of macroangiopathies tended to be first evident in the post-trial follow-up period. Transient intensive blood pressure lowering was generally effective in the formation of memory for the suppression of cardiovascular events and had an especially strong impact on risk reduction of chronic heart failure. Transient intensive LDL cholesterol lowering clearly had a long-term beneficial effect on risk reduction of cardiovascular events. Our systematic review revealed the clinical relevance of cardiometabolic memory.
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