Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Strong statin therapy reverses plaque build-up in arteries

24.09.2002


Reducing bad cholesterol to below "optimal" levels reversed the accumulation of artery-clogging plaque, according to a study in today’s rapid access issue of Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association. When atherosclerotic plaque builds up in the arteries it can cause a heart attack or stroke.



People with known heart disease or a major risk factor, such as diabetes, are counseled to reduce their low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol ("bad" cholesterol) below 100 milligrams/deciliter (mg/dL) of blood. The goal for patients whose only risk factor is high cholesterol is usually below 130 mg/dL. Statin drugs are commonly used to lower total and LDL cholesterol.

There has been some question recently, however, whether more aggressive LDL lowering would confer an even greater benefit, says lead author Allen J. Taylor, M.D., director of cardiovascular research at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.


In addition, there is a question of whether factors besides cholesterol-lowering figure into the overall benefit from statin therapy. Besides affecting cholesterol, statins may also affect levels of inflammation or the degree of artery thickening.

"This is the first comparison of two statin drugs in a general population that looked at more than their cholesterol-lowering abilities," says Taylor.

Researchers recruited 161 patients (average age 60, 71 percent men) who were candidates for statin therapy. About half had known cardiovascular disease. Of these patients, 138 completed the study in which they received either 40 milligrams (mg) of the natural drug pravastatin, or 80 mg of relatively new synthetic statin called atorvastatin.

After 12 months, those receiving pravastatin treatment had a 27.5 percent drop in their LDL cholesterol compared to a 48.5 percent reduction in LDL for people treated with the higher dose of atorvastatin. The pravastatin group’s LDL was reduced to 110 mg/dL while the atorvastatin group’s LDL level was 76 mg/dL.

Researchers used ultrasound to compare the thickness of the carotid arteries (major arteries in the neck that supply blood to the brain) before treatment, after six months, and after one year of therapy. The amount of plaque in the carotid arteries is considered a good indicator of the amount of atherosclerosis throughout the body.

The researchers found that many patients had a net decrease in carotid artery thickness – 54 percent of atorvastatin patients and 39 percent of pravastatin patients.

Patients who received moderate treatment with pravastatin showed a slight progression in the thickness of the atherosclerosis in their carotid arteries (from an average of .615 mm at baseline to an average of .640 mm thickness at 12 months). Those who received atorvastatin treatment had a decrease (from an average of .625 mm to an average of .591 mm).

"Atherosclerosis is a progressive disease that takes years to develop and continues to get worse over time unless treated," Taylor explains. "Previous studies found that patients in whom plaque stabilized – or stopped progressing – had the lowest risk of heart attacks and other cardiovascular disease problems. In general, past studies have shown that regression is uncommon."

"We need to carefully define at what point lower LDL values have the greatest benefit in lowering the risk of heart disease. This study would suggest that LDL values much lower than 100 mg/dL appears better than a value of around 100," he says.

In an accompanying editorial, Prediman K. Shah, M.D., director of the division of cardiology and atherosclerosis research center at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, Calif., says, "The data provided by Taylor are of potential interest and could have significant implications for clinical practice. However, before we conclude that more LDL-lowering means less atherosclerosis progression or clinical events, more in depth research is necessary."

Shah points to several large scale trials that are measuring the effect of moderate vs. aggressive cholesterol lowering on coronary plaque and cardiac events that should provide additional valuable information in the near future.


Co-authors include Steven M. Kent, M.D.; Patrick J. Flaherty, D.O.; Louis C. Coyle, D.O.; Thor T. Markwood M.D.; and Marina N. Vernalis, D.O.

CONTACT: For journal copies only,
please call: (214) 706-1396
For other information, call:
Carole Bullock: (214) 706-1279
Bridgette McNeill: (214) 706-1135

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

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution
09.12.2016 | Veterans Affairs Research Communications

nachricht Oxygen can wake up dormant bacteria for antibiotic attacks
08.12.2016 | Penn State

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Electron highway inside crystal

Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.

Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth

09.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon

09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution

09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>