Should a statin be prescribed to every patient with heart failure?

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Abstract

Chronic heart failure (HF) represents an emerging epidemic since its prevalence is continuously increasing despite advances in treatment. Many recent clinical studies have clearly demonstrated that statin therapy is associated with improved outcomes in HF irrespective of aetiology (ischaemic or not) or baseline cholesterol levels. Indeed, most of the conducted large statin trials and trials in HF have demonstrated a positive effect of statins in HF patients. Furthermore, the use of statins in HF seems to be safe as none of the recent trials has resulted in worse outcomes for HF patients treated with statins. Potential mechanisms through which statins could benefit the failing myocardium include non-sterol effects of statins, as well as effects on nitric oxide and endothelial function, inflammation and adhesion molecules, apoptosis and myocardial remodelling and neurohormonal activation. This review discusses the pathophysiological basis of statin effects on HF and focuses on clinical data for the benefit from statin use in this setting. Until today there are no official recommendations in both the American and the European guidelines regarding the use of statins in HF patients, as the available data come from small observational or larger but retrospective, non-randomised studies. Therefore, HF patients should be treated according to current lipid guidelines. Large randomised clinical trials are underway and will further delineate the role of statin therapy in HF patients. Until more data are available, we could not recommend statin use to every patient with HF irrespective of HF aetiology and baseline cholesterol levels.

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