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Statins could 'reduce risk of death' among stroke patients

Statins could 'reduce risk of death' among stroke patients
23rd September 2014

Stroke patients who continue to take statins while they're in hospital could have a dramatically lower risk of death than those who don't.

Researchers in the US discovered that 58 per cent of individuals who were previously on statins but had stopped while in hospital died within one month of experiencing a stroke, Bloomberg reports. 

On the other hand, 19 per cent of patients died whose statins were still being administered.

In addition, out of those who were previously not on the drug, 18 per cent who received it after their stroke were dead after 30 days, compared to the 39 per cent death rate for those who were not given it.

This study concerns strokes caused by bleeding in the brain and it is estimated around one in ten of the strokes experienced in the UK is this type, known also as an intracerebral hemorrhage. 

Nearly 3,500 individuals were examined who had been admitted to one of 20 hospitals around the US. 

The research took place by experts from Kaiser Permanente Northern California in Redwood City and is published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Neurology. 

Professor Randall Marshall, chief of the Stroke Division at Columbia University Medical Center in New York, said: "It is a new concept for most clinicians that statins are actually safe to use and actually beneficial in the setting of ischemic stroke and hemorrhagic stroke. 

"My hope is that doctors will take this to heart and understand the potential benefits of statins moving forward."

Lead study author Alexander Flint, who is a stroke specialist at the centre, told the news provider in a telephone interview that if a patient is taking a statin when they are admitted with this type of stroke, they should "strongly consider not stopping the statin immediately in the hospital". 

However, he insisted that further studies would be necessary to confirm what had been discovered.

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