Statins reduce risk of clot-related diseases

Washington: People likely to face clot-related diseases may benefit from common cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins, says a new study.

"In our study, we aimed to analyse and evaluate the effect of these drugs in patients with specific conditions related to vessel blockages," said study leader Vanjul Agarwal at the University of Connecticut.

While other studies have focused on the effects of specific statin drugs, Agarwal said the current analysis sought to evaluate the effect of statins as a whole.

Researchers reviewed the results of 10 studies of more than 900,000 men and women evaluating the effect of statins in preventing venous thromboembolism (VTE), clots formed in the deep veins which pose a serious risk for heart attack and stroke.

Agarwal noted that the current study included all types of VTE, with a focus on deep vein thrombosis (DVT), most commonly involving clots in the lower legs, and pulmonary embolism (PE), clots that form in the primary vessels of the lungs after migrating from other areas of the body, usually the legs, pelvis or, rarely arms.

Statin were found to benefit patients with all types of VTE, including DVT and PE. Both PE and DVT can be asymptomatic and therefore difficult to detect, or easy to misdiagnose.

According to the Centres for Disease Control, about 200,000 to 400,000 people in the US have DVT and about 100,000 to 200,000 people have a PE, said a University of Connecticut release.

The results of the study will be presented at the American Thoracic Society 2010 International Conference in New Orleans.