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Statins Before Vascular Surgery Cut Deaths, Complications
Date:9/2/2009

Problems halved in patients getting blood-vessel repairs done, study finds

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 2 (HealthDay News) -- A dose of a cholesterol-lowering statin before vascular surgery reduces the risk of complications and death, new Dutch research shows.

The study of nearly 500 patients who had surgery for a variety of blood-vessel problems found the incidence of heart artery blockage and deaths was halved in those who received an 80-milligram dose of fluvastatin before their operation, compared to those given a placebo.

"The manuscript showed that fluvastatin extended-release is safe in the perioperative period, associated with a reduced inflammatory status and improved outcome, compared to placebo," said Dr. Don Poldermans, a professor of internal medicine at Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and a principal author of a report in the Sept. 3 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Heart artery blockage occurred in 10.8 percent of the people who received fluvastatin and 19 percent of those who were given a placebo, the report said. Deaths from heart attacks or other cardiovascular problems occurred in 4.8 percent of those who received fluvastatin and 10.1 percent of those given placebo.

Fluvastatin is available in generic form in the United States, sold as Lescol, Canef and other brand names. Other statins include Crestor, Lipitor and Zocor.

The new study confirms the growing idea that statin therapy is a valuable tool in blood-vessel surgery, American experts said.

"This study confirms a lot of previous work," said Dr. Bruce A. Perler, chief of vascular surgery at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, in Baltimore. "Much of that work comes from small, retrospective studies. This is a well-done, placebo-controlled trial that confirms what we have suspected for a long time."

Perler led one previous study that compared the outcome of surgery on the car
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