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Statins Slow Disease in Rheumatic Heart Disease

Last Updated: May 14, 2009.

Patients with rheumatic aortic valve stenosis have a slower rate of disease progression if they take statins, according to a study in the May 19 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

THURSDAY, May 14 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with rheumatic aortic valve stenosis have a slower rate of disease progression if they take statins, according to a study in the May 19 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Francesco Antonini-Canterin, M.D., from Azienda Ospedaliera S. Maria degli Angeli in Pordenone, Italy, and colleagues retrospectively examined the association between statin use and the progression of rheumatic aortic valve stenosis in 164 patients with the condition, where 30 had been treated with statins.

After a mean follow-up of 8.5 years, as measured by annual changes in peak aortic velocity, the researchers found that the progression of stenosis severity was significantly slower in patients taking statins (mean 0.05 m/s versus 0.12 m/s). Significantly fewer patients receiving statins had rapid progression, as defined as an annual rate of peak velocity progression of 0.1 m/s or greater (10 versus 49 percent). After considering a number of relevant factors, only statin therapy and baseline peak aortic velocity were independently associated with stenosis progression, the authors note.

"This is the first observation of a positive effect of statin treatment in reducing the progression of rheumatic aortic valve stenosis," Antonini-Canterin and colleagues conclude. "These findings may have important implications for the early management of this progressive disease."

An author of the accompanying editorial reported relationships with Merck and Schering-Plough Pharmaceuticals.

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