Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, director of women and heart disease at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, said: "Statins aren't anti-arrhythmic, but they are definitely one of the medications that can be used adjunctively to treat and prevent atrial fibrillation. Trials like this remind us that statins do a lot more than decrease cholesterol. They have this anti-inflammatory component, and when you see a study like this that shows such a decreased incidence of atrial fibrillation, you have to assume that it's through that anti-inflammatory pathway. This is pretty compelling."
Other research being presented at the meeting found no association between the consumption of omega-3 fatty acids or vitamin E and atrial fibrillation in women.
The first study, by researchers at Northwestern University, involved 46,704 women participating in the Women's Health Initiative who completed questionnaires about their intake of omega-3 fatty acids.
The second study looked at 38,933 healthy women over the age of 45 who had been randomly selected to receive either vitamin E or a placebo. The study, which lasted for about a decade, was conducted by researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.
Visit the American Heart Association for more on women and heart disease.
SOURCES: Cara Pellegrini, M.D., electrophysiology fellow, University of California, San Francisco; Suzanne Steinbaum, D.O., director, Women and Heart Disease, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; May 15, 2008, presentations, Heart Rhythm Society annual meeting, San Francisco
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