Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Cholesterol drug helps heart failure patients without high cholesterol

29.07.2003


People with heart failure and normal cholesterol may benefit from cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins, researchers report in today’s rapid access issue of Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.



"This is the first prospective study to show that statins have beneficial effects in heart failure in the absence of coronary artery disease or high blood cholesterol," says senior author James K. Liao, M.D., director of vascular medicine research at Brigham & Women’s Hospital and associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, Boston, Mass. "This was a surprising finding in that the benefits occur after only 14 weeks of treatment and with a very low dose of the drug."

Statins have already been shown to decrease the incidence of chronic heart failure in patients with coronary artery disease and high cholesterol. However, the effect of statins on heart failure in people without cholesterol-induced coronary artery disease is not known.


The improved heart function observed in this study was in addition to the improvement already observed with two current treatments for heart failure – beta blockers and ACE inhibitors. "This is quite remarkable for this disease," Liao says.

Heart failure occurs when the heart can’t pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs. It’s associated with inflammation and an imbalance of hormones released by the body’s defense system, which tends to overcompensate for the patient’s poor heart function. "Because statins improve blood vessel function and suppress the inflammatory process, we believed that statins might improve heart function and the neurohormonal imbalance found in most forms of chronic heart failure," Liao explains.

To exclude statins’ well-known cholesterol-lowering properties, which may improve heart failure caused by coronary artery disease, the researchers limited the study to patients with idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy, meaning their heart failure was due to viral or genetic causes rather than to blockage of heart vessels caused by high cholesterol. The heart failure patients in this study, therefore, are rather young (53 to 55) and otherwise healthy patients who often qualify for heart transplants, he says. Because their heart failure isn’t caused by coronary artery disease, these patients often don’t experience the chest pain (angina) associated with narrowed coronary arteries. Instead, they often experience shortness of breath and fatigue. There are about 550,000 new cases of heart failure per year and about 15 percent of them are non ischemic, Liao says.

Researchers studied 51 patients in Japan, where lead author Koichi Node, M.D., Ph.D., is a professor of medicine in the cardiovascular division at Saga Medical School, Saga, Japan. Participants received either 5 milligrams (mg) of the statin drug simvastatin for four weeks followed by 10 mg of it for 10 weeks, or a placebo. The standard U.S. and European dose of simvastatin for lowering cholesterol is 40 mg.

Because of the small dose, average total cholesterol fell only modestly for the statin users, from 221 mg/deciliter (mg/dL) to 201 mg/dL.

Patients treated with simvastatin reached a better New York Heart Association (NYHA) functional level (from 2.39 to 2.04) than those on placebo (from 2.36 to 2.32). The NYHA levels gauge heart function on a scale from I to IV with IV being severe heart failure that keeps a patient bedridden because any exertion brings on breathlessness and fatigue. In the statin group, 39.1 percent of patients had an improved functional class, 56.6 percent remained unchanged and 4.3 percent worsened. In the placebo group, only 16 percent improved, 72 percent remained the same and 12 percent deteriorated.

The left ventricular ejection fraction, a measure of heart function, rose from 34 percent to 41 percent in the statin group, but stayed the same in the placebo group, he adds.

"These improvements are significant given that these patients had only moderate disease and were treated for only 14 weeks," Liao says. "This opens up a new treatment strategy for patients with heart failure, regardless of their cholesterol levels." However, researchers caution that larger studies with hard endpoints are needed before statins can be recommended to treat patients with this form of chronic heart failure.

Other Co-authors are Masahi Fujita, M.D.; Masafumi Kitakaze, M.D., Ph.D.; and Masatsugu Hori, M.D.

Carole Bullock | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.americanheart.org

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Drone vs. truck deliveries: Which create less carbon pollution?
31.05.2017 | University of Washington

nachricht New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>