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ACC: Statin Regimen Leads to Atherosclerosis Regression

Rosuvastatin is first drug shown to shrink plaques in coronary arteries

MONDAY, March 31 (HealthDay News) -- High-dose treatment with rosuvastatin not only improves lipid profiles but also leads to regression of atherosclerotic plaques in narrowed coronary arteries, according to research published online March 31 in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association and presented at the American College of Cardiology's 57th Scientific Session this week in Chicago.

Christie Ballantyne, M.D., of Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center in Houston, and colleagues treated 507 adults with coronary artery disease with rosuvastatin 40 mg/day for 24 months. Intravascular ultrasound and quantitative coronary angiography were performed at baseline and at study completion to assess coronary artery plaques.

The researchers found that rosuvastatin decreased low-density lipoprotein cholesterol by 53.3 percent and increased high-density lipoprotein cholesterol by 13.8 percent. In addition, the diameter of stenosed coronary vessels (mean ± standard deviation) decreased from 37.3±8.4 percent to 36±10.1 percent, while minimum lumen diameter of vessels increased from 1.65±0.36 mm to 1.68±0.38 mm.

"Previous studies have shown that statin therapy can slow the development of plaque in the coronary arteries," commented Ballantyne. "However, no statin monotherapy study has stopped the growth of plaque, or actually reduced the amount of plaque in the arteries in areas with narrowing or stenosis, as this study shows."

This trial was funded by AstraZeneca.

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