Statins May Lower Amputation, Death Risk in PAD Patients

Cholesterol-lowing drugs associated with reduced risk of amputation, mortality
Cholesterol-lowing drugs associated with reduced risk of amputation, mortality

(HealthDay News) — Statins may spare patients with peripheral artery disease (PAD) from the possibility of amputation and even death, according to findings presented at the American Heart Association's Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology/Peripheral Vascular Disease 2016 Scientific Sessions, held from May 5 to 7 in Nashville, Tenn.

For the study, the researchers analyzed health information on 208,000 veterans with PAD from the Veterans Affairs' database. They identified those who were taking statins around the time they were diagnosed with PAD. The researchers also recorded the veterans' dosage of these drugs. During an average follow-up period of 5.2 years, the veterans were divided into three groups: those taking high doses of statins, those taking moderate to low doses of the drugs, and those who did not take statins.

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The researchers found that those with PAD who took high doses of statins had a 33 percent lower risk for amputation and a 29 percent lower risk of death than those who didn't take these drugs. Meanwhile, the patients on a moderate or low dose of statins had a 22 percent lower risk of amputation and death.

The findings suggest, but don't prove, that "patients who have been diagnosed with PAD should be considered for placement on high-dose statins upon diagnosis if they can tolerate it, along with other medical management, including smoking cessation, anti-platelet therapy, and a walking program," Shipra Arya. M.D., of the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, said in a news release from the American Heart Association.

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