Statins improves heart structure and function: Study

| Updated: May 28, 2017 04:32 IST

Washington D.C. [USA], May 27 (ANI): Briton researchers have found that group of drugs, which act to reduce levels of cholesterol in the blood, is linked to improved heart structure and its function. According to the study, statins are associated with improved heart structure and function. Lead author Dr Nay Aung from Queen Mary University of London said that statins are primarily used to lower cholesterol. They are highly effective in preventing cardiovascular events in patients who have had a heart attack or are at risk of heart disease. He added that statins have other beneficial, non-cholesterol lowering effects. They can improve the function of the blood vessels, reduce inflammation and stabilise fatty plaques in the blood vessels. They investigated 4,622 people without cardiovascular disease from the UK Biobank, a large community-based cohort study. Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging was used to measure left and right ventricular volumes and left ventricular mass. Information on statin use was obtained from medical records and a self-reporting questionnaire. Nearly 17 percent of participants were taking statins. Those taking statins were older, had higher BMI and blood pressure and were more likely to have diabetes and hypertension. "This was not surprising because we prescribe statins to patients at high risk of heart disease and these are all known risk factors," said Dr Aung. The patients, who were taking statins, had a 2.4 percent lower left ventricular mass and lower left and right ventricular volumes. They explained that the people, who use statins, were less likely to have a thickened heart muscle (left ventricular hypertrophy) and less likely to have a large heart chamber. The researchers explained that having a thick, large heart is a strong predictor of future heart attack, heart failure or stroke and taking statins appears to reverse the negative changes in the heart which, in turn, could lower the risk of adverse outcomes. "It is important to note that in our study, the people taking statins were at higher risk of having heart problems than those not using statins yet they still had positive heart remodelling compared to the healthier control group," added Dr Aung. Dr Aung said several studies have demonstrated that statins reduce oxidative stress and dampen the production of growth factors which stimulate cell growth. Statins also increase the production of nitric oxide by the cells lining the blood vessels, leading to vasodilatation, improved blood flow, lower blood pressure, and lower stress on the heart, which is less likely to become hypertrophied. The findings raise the issue of extending statin prescriptions to anyone above the age of 40, but Dr Aung said that was probably not the way to go. The findings were presented today at EuroCMR 2017 in Prague. (ANI)