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CHEST: Statins May Be Beneficial in Select Patients

Drugs found to reduce clotting risk after heart attack or stroke, but can have negative effects

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 4 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with heart failure, statin use can be helpful or harmful; however, in patients hospitalized with heart attack or stroke, statin use may significantly reduce the risk of venous thromboembolism, according to research presented at the 75th annual international scientific assembly of the American College of Chest Physicians, held from Oct. 31 to Nov. 5 in San Diego.

Lawrence P. Cahalin, Ph.D., of Northeastern University in Boston, and colleagues assessed 61 statin users and 75 non-statin users with heart failure. In patients with systolic heart failure, they found that statin use was associated with improved pulmonary function and exercise tolerance. In patients with diastolic heart failure, however, they observed that statin use was associated with the opposite effect -- increased dyspnea and fatigue and decreased exercise tolerance.

Danai Khemasuwan, M.D., of the Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia, and colleagues studied 593 patients admitted to the center with either a heart attack or stroke. Overall, they found that statin users were less likely to develop venous thromboembolism than nonusers (8.3 versus 26.3 percent), and that high-dose statin use (more than 40 mg/day) was associated with a lower risk of venous thromboembolism compared to standard-dose statin use (odds ratio, 0.48).

"Venous thromboembolism leads to significant morbidity, mortality, and hospital costs in Americans each year," Kalpalatha Guntupalli, M.D., of the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, and president of the American College of Chest Physicians, said in a statement. "Although more research is needed, statins may prove effective in helping to reduce the incidence of venous thromboembolism in specific patient populations."

Abstract - Cahalin
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Abstract - Khemasuwan
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