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6.5 million more patients might benefit from statins to prevent heart attacks, strokes
Date:3/18/2009

plays an important role in initiating cardiovascular events, says Michos, but at-risk patients aren't routinely tested for CRP levels.

Building on the JUPITER trial results, Michos and Hopkins cardiology professor Roger S. Blumenthal, M.D., wondered how many patients in the United States fit the low-cholesterol, high-CRP profile featured in the study and might also benefit from taking statins. To get an estimate, they gathered data generated by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, or NHANES. This research program, which has gathered various health data from thousands of Americans from 1971 to the present, weights the data from its participants so that they're representative of the entire United States population.

After searching NHANES between the years 1999 and 2004 for participants that fit the JUPITER profile, then extrapolating that to the general population, Michos and Blumenthal estimate that about 6.5 million older adults with low cholesterol and high CRP might benefit from statins. If they expanded their search criteria to the cholesterol level cutoff of 160 mg/dl that doctors often use when deciding to prescribe statins, the researchers increased this statin-benefiting group's size to 10 million.

"We're showing that doctors may be able to prevent thousands of heart attacks, strokes and deaths each year if we expand statin-prescribing criteria to include C-reactive protein levels, something we can assess as part of a simple blood test," says Michos.

The team points out in the study, published in the March 17 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, that based on JUPITER's results, prescribing statins to older adults using this new criteria that incorporates CRP would prevent about 260,000 cardiovascular events over five years.


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Contact: Christen Brownlee
cbrownlee@jhmi.edu
410-955-7832
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions
Source:Eurekalert

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