Pretreatment with statins improves early outcome in patients with first-ever ischaemic stroke: a pleiotropic effect of statins or a beneficial effect of hypercholesterolemia?
BMC Neurology 2010, 10:47
Data from different studies suggest a favourable association between pretreatment with statins or hypercholesterolemia and outcome after ischaemic stroke. We examined whether there were differences in in-hospital mortality according to the presence or absence of statin therapy in a large population of first-ever ischaemic stroke patients and assessed the influence of statins upon early death and spontaneous neurological recovery.
In 2,082 consecutive patients with first-ever ischaemic stroke collected from a prospective hospital-based stroke registry during a period of 19 years (1986-2004), statin use or hypercholesterolemia before stroke was documented in 381 patients. On the other hand, favourable outcome defined as grades 0-2 in the modified Rankin scale was recorded in 382 patients.
Early outcome was better in the presence of statin therapy or hypercholesterolemia (cholesterol levels were not measured) with significant differences between the groups with and without pretreatment with statins in in-hospital mortality (6% vs 13.3%, P = 0.001) and symptom-free (22% vs 17.5%, P = 0.025) and severe functional limitation (6.6% vs 11.5%, P = 0.002) at hospital discharge, as well as lower rates of infectious respiratory complications during hospitalization. In the logistic regression model, statin therapy was the only variable inversely associated with in-hospital death (odds ratio 0.57) and directly associated with favourable outcome (odds ratio 1.32).
Use of statins or hypercholesterolemia before first-ever ischaemic stroke was associated with better early outcome with a reduced mortality during hospitalization and neurological disability at hospital discharge. However, statin therapy may increase the risk of intracerebral haemorrhage, particularly in the setting of thrombolysis