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02-11-2010 | Cardiology | Article

Statins may reduce mortality in heart failure patients


Free abstract

MedWire News: US researchers say that statin use is associated with decreased all-cause mortality in elderly patients following diagnosis of heart failure.

Senthil Thambidorai (Creighton University, Omaha, Nebraska, USA) and colleagues report that the benefits of statin therapy can be seen after a relatively short time period.

The researchers identified 10,510 elderly (average age 72 years) patients diagnosed with heart failure from January 2002 through December 2006, from the Veterans Affairs health system.

Patients were ascribed to one of four groups, depending on their statin use over the 5-year period: none, ≤25%, >25-75%, and >75% (average follow-up of 2.66 years).

Thambidorai's team defined statin use as filling one or more statin prescriptions 3 months prior to the first date of diagnosis for heart failure up to, and including, the study end date.

Patients using statins were further stratified depending on the duration of time they remained on statin therapy.

After adjustments for age, gender, concurrent medications and comorbid diagnoses, statin use was significantly associated with a decrease in all-cause mortality, following a diagnosis of heart failure.

The all-cause mortality rate of patients not using statins was 37.3%, compared with 23.1%, 18.7%, and 21.4% for patients with ≤25%, >25-75%, and >75% of statin use, respectively.

The researchers say that the benefits of statins can be seen within a relatively short period of time, at within 1 year of statin therapy initiation.

Patients not exposed to treatment at any time during the study period were 1.56 times more likely to suffer all-cause mortality than those receiving statin treatment.

However, no significant benefit was shown in patients who used statins for less than 25% of study time; an improvement in mortality was only apparent when the duration of statin use was greater than 25%.

Writing in the International Journal of Cardiology, Thambidorai and team say they are also surprised by the lack of incremental benefit between patients with 26-75% of statin use and those with more than 75% of statin use.

They suggest that the effects of statins in heart failure patients may reach a plateau after a certain time period.

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2010

By Nikki Withers

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