Thoracic Aneurysm Research
updated: Jan 18, 2012, 4:21 PM
A study by Yale School of Medicine reveals that survival rates for patients with
a thoracic aneurysm are significantly better, and complications are fewer, among
patients who take statin cholesterol drugs than those who do not. The study
appears in the American Journal of Cardiology.
An aneurysm is a swelling of an artery, and is a common cause of death. It's
usually asymptomatic, with death or a life-threatening complication such as
rupture or dissection being the first manifestation. Statins are cholesterol-
lowering drugs that are widely used in patients with cardiovascular disease.
Assistant professor of cardiothoracic surgery Ion S. Jovin, M.D., and colleagues
studied 649 patients with thoracic aortic aneurysms: 147 were taking statins and
502 were not. In long-term follow-up 80% of those taking statins survived,
compared with 67% percent of those not taking statins. In addition, a smaller
percentage of those taking statins suffered a rupture or dissection (splitting
of the aorta), compared to those who were not taking statins.
"The intake of statins was associated with an improvement in long-term outcomes
among these patients," said co-author John Elefteriades, M.D., professor of
cardiothoracic surgery at Yale School of Medicine and director of the Aortic
Institute at Yale-New Haven Hospital. "In addition to better survival, fewer
patients taking statins required surgical intervention," Elefteriades added.
Medical science has searched for decades for a medicine that could treat
aneurysm disease, with little success. The current standard therapy is to keep
blood pressure low to discourage rupture of the enlarged artery. Jovin said his
research suggests that "statins could offer a significant protective effect to
patients at risk of death or complications from aneurysm disease. However, the
ultimate proof would be a randomized clinical trial." Elefteriades adds, "We now
have some arrows in our quiver of medicines to treat this disease."
Other authors are Mona Duggal, Keita Ebisu, Hyung Paek, A. Dana Oprea, Maryann
Tranquilli, John Rizzo, Redin Memet, Marina Feldman, James Dziura, and Cynthia
A. Brandt of Yale.
This work was partly funded by the Yale Clinical and Translational Science Award
grant from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences at the
National Institutes of Health.
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