Skip to main content

High potency statins linked to better outcome following a heart attack

A study looking at the data of thousands of patients who suffered heart attacks has suggested treatment with high-potency statins offers a significantly improved chance of survival compared to those taking normal statins. Results of the study were published online in the journal Heart.

The study, led by the University of Dundee and on which I was a collaborator, also found a combination of statins and the drug ezetimibe showed no improved survival rate, although researchers caution this finding needs further testing.

'There is presently a lot of interest in ezetimibe as a potential treatment for heart patients,' said Professor Chim Lang, from the Division of Cardiovascular and Diabetes Medicine at the University of Dundee Medical School.

'Ezetimibe has been shown to be very effective at lowering cholesterol but we do not know its effect on survival. The key question really is whether it is better than statins, especially high potency statins such as rosuvastatin or atorvastatin.

What our study has showed, looking at the data from thousands of patients in the UK, is that patients who switched from normal statin treatment to high potency statins lived longer.

Those who had ezetimibe added did not appear to have a better outcome. So for the moment the data supports the use of high potency statins, one of which, atorvastatin, is now off patent and is cheap and effective.'

Data for the study was drawn from the UK's Clinical Practice Research Datalink. We looked at the data for patients who had survived 30 days after their first heart attack, who had not received prior statin or ezetimibe therapy, and who were started on a statin within that period of their attack.

The data of 9597 patients was used. 6990 of those were treated with simvastatin, 1883 had switched to a more potent statin, and 724 were given an ezetimibe/statin combination.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Improving how secondary care and general practice in England work together: the NHS Standard Contract

Due to the increasing pressures on general practices within the National Health Service in England, the interface between primary and secondary care, and the division of labour between these, has become an important issue. This has long been an area prone to difficulties and conflict, the consequences of which can directly impact the quality and safety of patient care, particularly for patients with chronic conditions who regularly transition between these two sectors. In an article published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, Amy Price and I explore the measures recently implemented in the NHS Standard Contract which aim to target common issues at the primary–secondary care interface, with an aim to reducing inappropriate general practitioner workload in England. We discuss the context behind the implementation of the NHS Standard Contract as well as current concerns and areas for further consideration.

The current crisis in primary care means the NHS Standard Contract…

Dr Demis Hassabis, Co-Founder and CEO of DeepMind, Speaks about AI in Healthcare

On 28 September 2017, I attended the Annual Institute of Global Health Innovation Lecture: Artificial General Intelligence and Healthcare, delivered by Dr Demis Hassabis, co-founder and CEO of Google DeepMind. Artificial intelligence is the science of making machines smart argued Dr Hassabis, so how can we make it improve the healthcare sector? Dr Hassabis then went on to describe the work that DeepMind was carrying out in healthcare in areas such as organising information, deep learning to support the reporting of medical images (such as scans and pathology slides), and biomedical science. Dr Hassabis also discussed the challenges of applying techniques such as reinforcement learning in healthcare. He concluded that artificial intelligence has great scope for improving healthcare; for example, by prioritising the tasks that clinicians had to carry out and by providing decision support aids for both patients and doctors. Dr Hassabis also discussed some of the ethical issues in using …

Patients are more satisfied with general practices managed by GP partners than those managed by companies

General practices in England are independent businesses that are contracted to provide primary care for specified populations. Most are owned by general practitioners, but many types of organisation are now eligible to deliver these services. In a study published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, we examined the association between patient experience and the contract type of general practices in England, distinguishing limited companies from other practices.

We analysed data from the English General Practice Patient Survey 2013–2014 (July to September 2013 and January to March 2014). Patients were eligible for inclusion in the survey if they had a valid National Health Service number, had been registered with a general practice for six months or more, and were aged 18 years or over. All general practices in England with eligible patients were included in the survey (n = 8017).

Patients registered to general practices owned by limited companies reported worse experience…