Statins may not only benefit patients diagnosed with heart disease.The results of a new study, recently reported in the AmericanHeart Journal, suggested that the benefit of statin useextends to patients who have recently undergone surgery orangioplasty to treat their disease. To determine whether statinswork in surgery or angioplasty patients, the researchers lookedat the impact of cholesterol-lowering therapies in all 11,958patients over age 65 who had coronary bypass surgery or angioplastybetween 1995 and 1997.
The investigators found that, during 3 years of follow-up, 1288patients died, 810 had new heart attacks, and 1528 had a secondoperation to open the coronary blood vessels. The results ofthe study showed a 34% decreased risk of death and a 23%lower risk of heart attack in patients taking statins following surgeryor angioplasty. Statins, however, were not connected with areduction in the need for repeat surgery or angioplasty.
"The issue of cholesterol-lowering drugs in the elderly isassuming increasing importance as the population ages and[surgery and angioplasty] rates in this segment of the populationexpand. In the enthusiasm for [these procedures], the benefits ofthese drugs shouldn't be forgotten," said researcher James M.Brophy, MD, PhD.