JACC: Statins reduce risk of reoccurring atrial fibrillation

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Statin therapy significantly reduces the risk of atrial fibrillation in patients with a history of the condition and other high-risk groups, according to a meta-analysis published in the Feb. 26 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Laurent Fauchier, MD, PhD, of the Trousseau University Hospital Center in Tours, France, and colleagues, performed a meta-analysis of randomized trials with statins on the end point of incidence or recurrence of atrial fibrillation (AF) to improve the evaluation of the possible anti-arrhythmic effect of statins.

The investigators reported that statins reduced the odds ratio for atrial fibrillation by more than 60% compared with patients who did not receive the drugs.

Previously, statins have been suggested to protect against AF in some clinical observational and experimental studies, but has remained inadequately explored, according to the researchers.

Fauchier and colleagues included six studies with 3,557 patients in the analysis. They investigated three studies: the use of statins in patients with a history of paroxysmal AF; persistent AF undergoing electrical cardioversion; and the use of statins in primary prevention of AF in patients undergoing cardiac surgery or after acute coronary syndrome. Overall, 386 patients had incidence or recurrence of AF, the authors wrote.

Overall, the researchers found that the use of statins was significantly associated with a decreased risk of AF compared with control (0.18 to 0.85). The benefit of statin therapy seemed more marked in secondary prevention of AF (0.10 to 1.03) than for new-onset or postoperative AF (0.27 to 1.37), according to the investigators.

"These results provide some evidence of the benefit of statins beyond their lipid-lowering activity," the authors noted. "However, large-scale, prospective, randomized clinical trials are still needed to establish whether statins bring a similar benefit and are an appropriate therapeutic option in all subgroups of patients for the management of atrial fibrillation."

Fauchier and colleagues concluded that use of statins was significantly associated with a decreased risk of incidence or recurrence of AF in patients in sinus rhythm with a history of previous AF or undergoing cardiac surgery or after acute coronary syndrome.