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Doubt over statins in heart failure

Statins may not be beneficial in patients with heart failure, say researchers, after finding high levels of cholesterol could be protective in some patients.

Their study found patients with high levels of C reactive protein – indicating poor prognosis – were at greatest risk of death when their cholesterol levels were low.

The high CRP but low cholesterol group had a 28 per cent

increased risk of dying, compared with a 17 per cent increased risk in their high cholesterol counterparts.

Statin therapy was of little significant benefit in any patients except those with low cholesterol and high CRP, possibly as a result of the pleiotropic effects of the drugs, the researchers found.

Their study of 888 patients was presented at the World Congress of Cardiology in Barcelona last week.

Dr Andrew Clark, a researcher on the study and reader in cardiology at the University of Hull, said: 'Just because statins were helpful in patients with CHD doesn't mean they're helpful in patients with heart failure.

'In contrast to what you might imagine, having a high level of cholesterol might be good for you.'

He added that people with high cholesterol might have more energy reserves to deal with their condition.

Two large randomised controlled trials are currently under way to evaluate efficacy of statins in heart failure patients.

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