Does early statin therapy reduce the death rate of heart attack patients?16 years, 8 months ago
Posted on Sep 16, 2005, 10 a.m.
By Bill Freeman
The news that the death rate can be reduced by giving a cholesterol-lowering drug on or soon after admission to hospital following a heart attack was reported on 31 August 2005 in two newspapers. The newspaper reports reflected the overall conclusions of the study, but reliability of the research cannot be confirmed.
On 31 August 2005, two newspapers (1,2) reported that the use of statins in the first 24 hours after an acute myocardial infarction (MI) reduced mortality.
The study, published in the American Journal of Cardiology (3), included 174,635 people with acute MI. It reported that early statin treatment compared to no statin treatment reduced mortality and other complications when initiated in the first 24 hours or continued on admission. The study appears well conducted and the results are likely to be reliable. However, methodological details of the processes for patient selection and data extraction are not reported and therefore reliability cannot be confirmed.
The fact that the study reported a reduction in mortality with early statin use was reflected in the coverage by both newspapers. However, one of the newspapers (1) inaccurately reported the results of the study in terms of the magnitude of this benefit.