Patients on statins before a stroke were 1.6 times more likely to have a favorable outcome compared to patients never exposed to statins, according to the study. Those on statins after a stroke were 2.6 times more likely to have a favorable outcome than those not on statins.
"These results are very exciting and suggest that, unless contradicted, all patients at risk for ischemic stroke or recurrent ischemic stroke should probably be treated with statins to reduce their LDL levels to 60-70mg/dl," said study author Majaz Moonis, MD, MCRPI, DM, of the University of Massachusetts Medical School and director of the Stroke Prevention Clinic at UMass Memorial Medical Center.
The study examined 1,618 people who experienced ischemic stroke to assess whether use of statins before or after stroke onset improved their outcomes.
"Our research was based on the data that stroke patients had evidence of inflammation by elevated C-reactive protein levels. Statins reduce C-reactive protein, improve the endothelium, and have an anti-clotting effect," said Moonis. "Given these properties of statins, it seemed reasonable to assume that statins would improve the outcome after stroke."
The results of the study were not influenced by the severity of the stroke which, along with post-stroke complications and prior cerebrovascular disease, were independent predictors of an unfavorable outcome. This preliminary finding requires further research to confirm the results, according to the study authors.