Features January 2010 Issue

Research Raises Concerns About Statins and Heart Failure

The bottom line is that you should remain on your cholesterol-lowering medication unless otherwise directed by your physician.

While statins have been hailed as doing everything from controlling cholesterol to lowering blood pressure and more, a recent study presented at the American College of Chest Physicians annual meeting in San Diego, suggested that statins may do more harm than good for some heart failure (HF) patients. Researchers reviewed the charts of 136 HF patients and compared a non-statin group of 75 patients (82 percent of whom had diastolic HF) with a statin group of 61 patients (72 percent of whom had diastolic HF). They found that overall pulmonary function and exercise tolerance of patients in the statin group was significantly lower than in patients not taking statins. Additionally, researchers found that pulmonary function measures in the diastolic HF statin group were 12 percent lower than pulmonary function measures in the diastolic HF non-statin group, and the amount of exercise performed by patients with diastolic HF who were on a statin was almost 50 percent less than patients with diastolic HF not on a statin.

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