A University of Hong Kong study found that statins lower the risk of recurrence of arrhythmia or irregular heart contractions in patients with atrial fibrillation.The researchers conducted a study of 62 patients who underwent successful external cardioversion (electric shock to the heart) to treat atrial fibrillation that had persisted for 3 months.
Of the 62 patients, 4 had taken an average dose of 20 mg of oral simvastatin daily, and 6 had taken an average dose of 10 mg of atorvastatin for an average of 32 weeks for high cholesterol before cardioversion. After 2 years, atrial fibrillation had returned in only 40% of patients taking statins, compared with 84% of those not receiving statins. The "use of statins was associated with a significant decrease in the risk of arrhythmia recurrence," noted the authors in the American Journal of Cardiology (December 1, 2003).
Additionally, the researchers reported that the advantages of treatment were seen within a few months and remained during long-term follow-up.The results suggest that statin treatment affected, in part, functional changes in the heart.