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Skeletal muscle mitochondrial capacity in patients with statin-associated muscle symptoms (SAMS).

Open Heart 2024 Februrary 23
OBJECTIVE: The objective of this article is to evaluate near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS), a non-invasive technique to assess tissue oxygenation and mitochondrial function, as a diagnostic tool for statin-associated muscle symptoms (SAMS).

METHODS: We verified SAMS in 39 statin-treated patients (23 women) using a double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over protocol. Subjects with suspected SAMS were randomised to simvastatin 20 mg/day or placebo for 8 weeks, followed by a 4-week no treatment period and then assigned to the alternative treatment, either simvastatin or placebo. Tissue oxygenation was measured before and after each statin or placebo treatment using NIRS during handgrip exercise at increasing intensities of maximal voluntary contraction (MVC).

RESULTS: 44% (n=17) of patients were confirmed as having SAMS (11 women) because they reported discomfort only during simvastatin treatment. There were no significant differences in percent change in tissue oxygenation in placebo versus statin at all % MVCs in all subjects. The percent change in tissue oxygenation also did not differ significantly between confirmed and unconfirmed SAMS subjects on statin (-2.4% vs -2.4%, respectively) or placebo treatment (-1.1% vs -9%, respectively). The percent change in tissue oxygenation was reduced after placebo therapy in unconfirmed SAMS subjects (-10.2%) (p≤0.01) suggesting potential measurement variability.

CONCLUSIONS: NIRS in the forearm cannot differentiate between confirmed and unconfirmed SAMS, but further research is needed to assess the usability of NIRS as a diagnostic tool for SAMS.

TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: NCT03653663.

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