Statins are associated with improved heart structure and function, according to research presented today at the EuroCMR conference in Prague.
The research, led by researchers at Queen Mary University of London, saw benefits beyond the cholesterol lowering effect of statins.
The study included over 4,500 people without cardiovascular disease from the UK Biobank, a large community-based cohort study. Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (CMR) was used to measure the volumes of the left and right ventricles – the larger pumping chambers at the bottom of the heart.
They found that patients taking statins, which made up 17 per cent of participants, were less likely to have a thickened heart and less likely to have a large heart chamber. Having a large, thick heart is a strong predictor of heart attack, heart failure and stroke.
What we said
Professor Jeremy Pearson, Associate Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation, said:
“We know that statins are effective at lowering cholesterol and reducing the risk of a potentially fatal heart attack or stroke. This study is one of many which suggest statins have other effects on our heart health, though few have been proven.
“By using the power of the large-scale imaging studies from the UK Biobank, this study indicates that statins may have a direct effect on the heart’s structure that we haven’t been able to detect until now. But we need more research to confirm this finding and understand the mechanisms involved.”
Find out more about statins, who should take them, and how they reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.