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 Routing gene therapy directly into the brain
07.12.2017 | Boston Children's Hospital

nachricht New Hope for Cancer Therapies: Targeted Monitoring may help Improve Tumor Treatment
01.12.2017 | Berliner Institut für Gesundheitsforschung / Berlin Institute of Health (BIH)

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: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

Im Focus: Virtual Reality for Bacteria

An interdisciplinary group of researchers interfaced individual bacteria with a computer to build a hybrid bio-digital circuit - Study published in Nature Communications

Scientists at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) have managed to control the behavior of individual bacteria by connecting them to a...

Im Focus: A space-time sensor for light-matter interactions

Physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (run jointly by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics) have developed an attosecond electron microscope that allows them to visualize the dispersion of light in time and space, and observe the motions of electrons in atoms.

The most basic of all physical interactions in nature is that between light and matter. This interaction takes place in attosecond times (i.e. billionths of a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

PhoxTroT: Optical Interconnect Technologies Revolutionized Data Centers and HPC Systems

11.12.2017 | Information Technology

Large-scale battery storage system in field trial

11.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>