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Statins Reduce Cardiovascular Events in Elders Without Established CVD — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
August 29, 2013

Statins Reduce Cardiovascular Events in Elders Without Established CVD

By Amy Orciari Herman

Statins are associated with lower risks for myocardial infarction and stroke among elders without established cardiovascular disease, according to a meta-analysis in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

The analysis included eight randomized, placebo-controlled trials comprising nearly 25,000 patients aged 65 and older without CVD at baseline. During 3.5 years' follow-up, statin use was associated with a 39% reduction in the risk for MI and a 24% reduction in the risk for stroke. The researchers estimate that 24 patients would need to be treated for 1 year to prevent one MI, and 42 to prevent one stroke.

There was a trend toward a reduction in mortality, but this did not reach statistical significance.

The researchers say their study "provides first time evidence" that statins' cardiovascular benefits extend to people aged 65 and older without cardiovascular disease.

Reader Comments (3)

James Buch PhD Other, Unspecified, Alice Research

I have read that independent calculation of NNT from the data in Table 2 of the original paper yield a dramatically different NNT. The presently quoted numbers of 24 patients for 1 year to prevent 1 MI and 42 to prevent 1 stroke are astonishing for primary prevention studies. Truly astonishing. I remember that order of magnitude calculation errors (misplacing the decimal point) are still among the most common calculation errors. I am awaiting my copy of this paper to perform the recalculation. If someone does a quick recalculation and posts it, I would be prefectly happy with that.

Jack McCain

From the conclusion of the JACC abstract: "In elderly subjects at high CV risk without established CV disease, statins reduce the incidence of MI and stroke..." As written, the Journal Watch summary implies statins benefit ALL people aged 65 and older regardless of their cardiovascular risk level, given that the category "elders without established cardiovascular disease" captures people at all CV risk levels. If the study in fact dealt with populations "at high CV risk," as the abstract states, that important information should have been provided in the Journal Watch summary.

MANUEL HOYO Physician, Urology, Retired

Very helpful lit. to stay well informed of whats happening in our medical neighborhood!!!

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