News | September 28, 2006

Statins Before Surgery May Prevent AF

Administering a cholesterol-lowering drug prior to heart bypass surgery or surgical repair of a faulty heart valve may reduce the occurrence of atrial fibrillation, a common heart rhythm disturbance triggered by these surgeries. The research was published in “Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.”

About 2 million people in America and 4.5 million in Europe have AF, according to a recent joint scientific statement from the American Heart Association, American College of Cardiology and the European Society of Cardiology.

“Daily treatment with 40 mg of atorvastatin (Lipitor) for seven days before heart surgery reduced the risk of postoperative AF by 61 percent compared to patients who received a placebo for seven days,” said Giuseppe Patti, M.D., lead author of the study and assistant professor of cardiology in the Department of Cardiovascular Sciences at Campus Bio-Medico University in Rome, Italy.

Atorvastatin is in a class of medications called HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (statins). It works by slowing the body’s production of cholesterol.

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