Statins, haemostatic factors and thrombotic risk

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Statins reduce cholesterol synthesis and promote low-density lipoprotein clearance from circulation. Beyond their cholesterol-lowering action, statins may interfere with haemostasis. This review aims to provide an update on the impact of statin treatment on markers of haemostasis and platelet function and on thrombosis-related outcomes.

Recent findings

Different coagulation factors are modulated by statins, leading to inhibition of coagulation and increased fibrinolysis. Also, an impact of statins on platelet function has been documented. From a clinical perspective, several observational studies have revealed a reduced incidence of venous thromboembolism in patients receiving statins, which has been argued in some available studies and meta-analyses. Furthermore, a beneficial effect of early statin initiation following acute coronary syndrome for short-term prevention of thrombosis-related events has been documented, but the available data are still not consistent.

Summary

Although statins influence the levels of a multitude of haemostatic factors in an antithrombotic direction, data supporting their use for venous thromboembolism prevention are not consistent, and the impact of statins on early vascular events following acute coronary syndrome is still debated. Whether the robust long-term beneficial effects of statins in reducing cardiovascular risk may be also explained by persistent changes in haemostatic factors needs further exploration.

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