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Study shows new benefit of statins in heart failure patients


A new study from the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) and St. Michael’s Hospital shows that heart failure patients who use statins have significantly better outcomes, adding to the already established benefits of these drugs in the treatment of heart disease and stroke.

Researchers tracked over 28,000 Ontarians aged 66 to 85 years who were hospitalized for newly diagnosed heart failure. They evaluated rates of mortality, heart attack and stroke between the 1,146 patients who were started on statins after their hospitalization for heart failure and the 27,682 patients who were not started on statins.

Among seniors newly hospitalized for heart failure, there was approximately a 30 per cent reduction in the risk of death, heart attack or stroke in association with new statin use, mainly due to a significant reduction in mortality.

“Statins seemed to be most effective in heart failure patients who also have other conditions where the drugs have already been shown to be beneficial, including persons with coronary artery or cerebrovascular disease, diabetes and high blood pressure,” said lead author Dr. Joel Ray, a clinician-scientist and assistant professor in the department of medicine at St. Michael’s Hospital, University of Toronto.

Study co-author and ICES senior scientist Dr. Jack Tu adds that, while these findings are encouraging, “the decision to prescribe statins to heart failure patients should remain patient focused, balancing the relatively low side-effects of the drugs against their expense, as well as the potential impact on quality and extension of life.”

The study, “Statin use and survival outcomes in elderly patients with heart failure”, is published in the Jan. 10, 2005 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Author affiliations: ICES (Dr. Tu, Mr. Gong, and Ms. Sykora); Department of Medicine, St. Michael’s Hospital, University of Toronto (Dr. Ray); Department of Medicine, Sunnybrook and Women’s College Health Sciences Centre, University of Toronto (Dr. Tu)

ICES is an independent, non-profit organization that uses population-based health information to produce knowledge on a broad range of healthcare issues. Our unbiased evidence provides measures of health system performance, a clearer understanding of the shifting healthcare needs of Ontarians, and a stimulus for discussion of practical solutions to optimize scarce resources. ICES knowledge is highly regarded in Canada and abroad, and is widely used by government, hospitals, planners, and practitioners to make decisions about care delivery and to develop policy.

St. Michael’s Hospital is a large and vibrant teaching and research hospital in the heart of Toronto. Fully affiliated with the University of Toronto, St. Michael’s Hospital leads with innovation, and serves with compassion. Renowned for providing exceptional patient care, St. Michael's Hospital is a regional trauma centre and downtown Toronto’s designated trauma centre for adults. For more information, please visit www.stmichaelshospital.com.


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