The secondary prevention of coronary heart disease (CHD) is a recognised priority for primary care and is a fundamental part of the published National Service Framework (NSF). The majority of patients receive statins to reduce their total cholesterol (TC) and low-density lipoprotein chol-esterol (LDL-C) levels. The NSF set out targets for both TC and LDL-C. This study was designed to investigate the applicability of these targets in a real-life setting. One hundred and ten patients aged under 75 with established CHD were screened and their lipids measured. Eighty (73%) were on a statin. Mean TC was 6.3 mmol/L before treatment and 4.8 mmol/L after. Of these 80 patients, 46 (58%) had a TC below 5.0 mmol/L. Only 39% of patients met the stricter criterion of less than 5.0 mmol/L and a 25% fall in TC. No patient whose pre-treatment TC was below 5.0 mmol/L had reached a 25% reduction as well. The use of a threshold and a percentage may be potentially confusing to GPs and reduce the implementation of these targets.