Statins may help prevent blood clots in heart patients

Updated: Nov 04, 2009, 00:00 AM IST

Washington: A new study has shown that cholesterol-lowering drugs, also known as statins, may help prevent formation of blood clots in patients with cardiovascular disease.

The researchers showed that atherosclerosis patients receiving statin therapy had a significantly reduced risk of developing venous thromboembolism (VTE)- a collective term for DVT (blood clot) and pulmonary embolism (PE) - than patients not on statin therapy.

In addition, patients on a higher dose of statins had the least likelihood of developing VTE.

"Research has indicated an association between atherosclerosis and venous thrombosis," said lead author Dr Danai Khemasuwan, Albert Einstein Medical Center, Philadelphia, PA.

"However, in our study, statin therapy demonstrated a protective effect on this group of patients, reducing their overall incidence of developing VTE," Khemasuwan added.

For the study, researchers from Albert Einstein Medical Centre reviewed the cases of 593 patients with an average age of 68 who were admitted to the hospital for myocardial infarction or ischemic stroke.

Of the patients, 73 percent were receiving statins, and the overall incidence of VTE was 13 percent.

The results showed that patients in the nonstatin group were three times as likely to develop VTE than patients receiving statins.

"Venous thromboembolism leads to significant morbidity, mortality, and hospital costs in Americans each year," said Dr Kalpalatha Guntupalli, FCCP, President of the American College of Chest Physicians.

"Although more research is needed, statins may prove effective in helping to reduce the incidence of VTE in specific patient populations," Guntupalli added.

The study was presented at CHEST 2009, the 75th annual international scientific assembly of the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP).