Statins Reduce Risk In Discharged Heart Attack and Stroke Patients

A new study has found that patients with a history of heart attacks or stroke have improved outcomes when statin medications are used following their discharge from the hospital.

Previous surveys in hospitals have shown that statins, a common medication prescribed to lower cholesterol, aren’t being used as consistently in patients who’ve been admitted to the hospital following a heart attack or stroke. Researchers also found that when the medication is prescribed, dosing is likely not as high as it should be to provide optimal benefits.

Researchers from the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute in Salt Lake City looked at more than 62,000 records of patients from the Intermountain Healthcare system between 1999 and 2013 who survived an initial atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease event , such as a heart attack or stroke. They were then followed for three years, or until death, to identify the effectiveness of statin use prescribed at the time of their discharge.

Reduced Heart Attack Risk

Cardiovascular researcher Jeffrey L. Anderson, MD, of the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute, said:

“Patients who were prescribed a statin medication following an initial heart attack or stroke reduced their risk of a future adverse event such as a future heart attack, stroke, revascularization, or death, by almost 25% — the rate dropped from 34 percent to 26 percent. The patients who were discharged on what’s considered a high-intensity dose of a statin saw a 21 percent reduction in their risk than those discharged on a low-intensity statin dose.”

People with high cholesterol face an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, or other forms of heart disease. Statins are medications used to help lower cholesterol levels in the blood, thus reducing a person’s risk of cardiovascular injury or death.

The results of the study were reported at the 2017 American Heart Association Scientific Sessions in Anaheim.

30 percent of patients in the study who were discharged from the hospital following a heart attack or stroke weren’t prescribed a statin, which led to worse outcomes for those patients.

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