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Statins Reduce Atherosclerosis Risk After Graft Surgery

Independent of effect on low-density lipoprotein cholesterol

THURSDAY, Oct. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Aggressive statin treatment is more effective than moderate treatment in reducing the risk of atherosclerotic progression in grafts from patients who had undergone coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery, independent of its effects on low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, according to study findings published in the Oct. 15 issue of the American Journal of Cardiology.

Michael Domanski, M.D., from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute in Bethesda, Md., and colleagues analyzed data from a trial of 1,116 patients who had undergone CABG surgery and had been treated aggressively or moderately with lovastatin (based on LDL cholesterol goals) to determine their level of atherosclerotic progression in saphenous vein grafts.

The researchers found that after controlling for a number of factors including cholesterol and triglyceride levels, aggressive lovastatin treatment was significantly better than moderate treatment in reducing the risk of significant atherosclerotic progression in saphenous vein grafts (odds ratio 0.68). Aggressive treatment was also significantly more effective in reducing the mean decrease in minimum lumen diameter.

"In conclusion, aggressive versus moderate lovastatin treatment appeared therapeutic in slowing the atherosclerotic process in saphenous vein grafts from post-CABG patients, independent of its greater LDL cholesterol-lowering effect," Domanski and colleagues write.

The trial was partially supported by Merck.

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