Statins are groups of medications that reduce blood cholesterol levels and are commonly used to prevent heart disease. They can also reduce inflammation and affect the way blood clots in our blood vessels. There have been suggestions that statins may prevent venous thromboembolism, a life-threatening condition in which blood clots form in the veins of the legs or lungs.
In a study published by Dr Setor Kunutsor of the School of Clinical Sciences and colleagues from the University of Leicester, the authors conducted a meta-analysis, which involved pooling together all available studies (totalling 36) published on the topic.
These studies consisted of 13 observational studies (totalling 3,148,259 participants) and 23 randomised controlled trials (118,464 participants). The evidence from both kinds of study clearly showed that the risk of venous thromboembolism was reduced in statin users compared to non-statin users. This effect was observed regardless of age, country of origin, and whether at high or low risk of developing venous thromboembolism. Owing to the limited data available, the authors were unable to show clearly whether this beneficial effect could be attributed to all types of statin.
Though these findings provide clear evidence that statins have a beneficial effect in the reduction of venous thromboembolism, the authors call for further intervention research to validate these results before any guideline recommendations can be made.
The findings of this study were presented at the America Heart Association Scientific Sessions 2016 held in New Orleans, Louisiana and have also been published in Lancet Haematology.
University of Bristol