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Statin Therapy Before Vascular Surgery Cuts Cardiac Events

Last Updated: September 02, 2009.

Administering fluvastatin to patients in advance of vascular surgery can reduce the incidence of adverse cardiac events postoperatively, according to a study in the Sept. 3 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Administering fluvastatin to patients in advance of vascular surgery can reduce the incidence of adverse cardiac events postoperatively, according to a study in the Sept. 3 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Olaf Schouten, M.D., of Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, Netherlands, and colleagues randomized 497 patients who were naive to statin therapy to receive, along with a beta blocker, either fluvastatin or placebo prior to undergoing vascular surgery (median, 37 days before surgery). Study end points were incidence of myocardial ischemia within 30 days of surgery (primary end point) and death from cardiovascular causes and myocardial infarction (composite outcome, secondary end point).

The researchers found that myocardial ischemia occurred postoperatively in 27 patients in the fluvastatin group (10.8 percent) and 47 patients (19 percent) in the placebo group. Death as the result of myocardial infarction or cardiovascular causes occurred in 12 patients (4.8 percent) in the fluvastatin group and 25 patients (10.1 percent) in the placebo group. Also, the authors note, total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, C-reactive protein, and interleukin-6 levels were reduced among patients taking fluvastatin, but not in the placebo group.

"Fluvastatin therapy was associated with an improved postoperative cardiac outcome and a reduction in serum lipid levels and levels of markers of inflammation," Schouten and colleagues conclude.

The study was supported by Novartis. Several study authors reported receiving consulting fees or research grants from pharmaceutical companies.

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