Statins and cardiovascular risk reduction in patients with chronic kidney disease and end-stage renal failure

Usman Baber, Robert D Toto, James A de Lemos
American Heart Journal 2007, 153 (4): 471-7

BACKGROUND: Although numerous large-scale trials have firmly established the benefits of statins for primary and secondary prevention of coronary artery disease, the role of this class of agents in patients with impaired renal function remains unclear.

METHODS AND RESULTS: In the following review, we evaluate current evidence regarding the role of statins in patients with both chronic kidney disease (CKD) and end-stage renal disease (ESRD) on hemodialysis. Although statins do appear to reduce cardiovascular risk in patients with CKD, it remains unclear whether such benefit extends to the ESRD population. Thus far, 1 randomized placebo-controlled trial failed to demonstrate a statistically significant reduction in the primary endpoint of cardiovascular death, stroke, and nonfatal myocardial infarction among patients with ESRD on hemodialysis. This finding contrasts with observational analyses suggesting improved outcomes among patients with ESRD taking statins.

CONCLUSIONS: Risk factors unique to the CKD population, which may not be modifiable with statins, could contribute to the increased cardiovascular morbidity among patients with ESRD. These include alterations in mineral metabolism, elevation in serum homocysteine, and increased oxidative stress. Larger prospective studies are needed to elucidate the role of statins in patients with chronic kidney disease, including those with ESRD on dialysis. Pending further data, we currently recommend using statins in patients with CKD.

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