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Statins May Worsen Symptoms in DHF Patients

Thursday November 5, 2009
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A new study presented at CHEST 2009, the 75th annual international scientific assembly of the American College of Chest Physicians, found that statins have beneficial effects on patients with systolic heart failure, but those with diastolic heart failure experienced the opposite effect, including increased dyspnea, fatigue, and decreased exercise tolerance.

“Systolic heart failure is most often due to coronary artery disease and appears to have more of an inflammatory component than diastolic heart failure,” said Lawrence P. Cahalin, PT, PhD, Northeastern University, Boston, in a news release. “It is possible that statins would help patients with systolic heart failure more than patients with diastolic heart failure due to the cholesterol-lowering and anti-inflammatory effects of statins.”

Researchers from Northeastern University and Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, retrospectively reviewed the charts of 136 patients with heart failure in order to examine the effect of statins. A non-statin group (82% of patients had DHF) of 75 patients was compared with a statin group (72% of patients had DHF) of 61 patients. Atorvastatin was prescribed in 75% of the patients on statins.

Results of the analysis showed that overall PF and ET of patients in the statin group were significantly lower than patients in the non-statin group. Further subgroup analyses revealed that PF measures in the DHF statin group were 12% lower than PF measures in the DHF non-statin group. Furthermore, the amount of exercise performed by patients with DHF who were on a statin was almost 50% less than patients with DHF not on a statin.

Although the new data suggest that statins may actually worsen symptoms in patients with DHF, researchers feel that the benefits of using statins in patients with SHF and DHF outweigh the risks. “In our continuing study, we hope to identify patient characteristics that are associated with favorable and less than favorable results from statin therapy,” Cahalin said.

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