July 4, 2007 / 5:54 PM / 12 years ago

A statin soon after a heart attack beneficial: study

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Treatment with a statin drug after a person is hospitalized with a heart attack can reduce long-term mortality and prevent further heart events, Japanese researchers report.

“The aim of the present study was to clarify whether standard statin therapy initiated immediately after acute MI (heart attack) decreases long-term mortality and occurrence of cardiac events in a contemporary, real-world setting,” lead author Dr. Michitaka Nagashima, from The Heart Institute of Japan in Tokyo, and colleagues note.

The results, which appear in the American Journal of Cardiology, are based on a study of 702 patients who began statin therapy when they were discharged from the hospital and 702 matched controls.

Results, based on a median of 4 years of follow up, suggest a 36 percent reduced risk of death by using a statin soon after a heart attack.

The drop in mortality was mostly due to a reduction in cardiovascular-related deaths, the report indicates.

In addition to the survival benefit, statin therapy was associated with a reduced risk of a second heart attack and heart failure. Men, patients who were at least 60 years of age, and those with high levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol (levels of 155 mg/dL or higher) were mostly likely to benefit from such therapy, the results indicate.

Previous reports “have suggested that early statin treatment is beneficial in stabilizing vulnerable plaque after acute coronary events,” the authors write. “Our results are consistent with those of other studies for a 1-year period.”

SOURCE: American Journal of Cardiology, June 1, 2007.

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