Here’s a very interesting study that showed a clear stratification of the benefit of statins in over 13,000 patients who had not previously had any cardiovascular disease.  The average age of patients followed was 50 years and they were followed for a mean duration of 9.4 years.  Patients with a calcium score of 0 showed no benefit.  For reference, the calcium score indicates the amount of atherosclerosis in the coronary arteries where lower numbers indicate less calcification and therefore less damage.  Zero is the perfect score and most desirable result.  As the CAC scoring increased, representing more calcification and pre-existing damage, the benefit of statin use in primary prevention increased.  Remarkably, this was irrespective of lipid levels.  In the highest risk quartile the number needed to treat (NNT) to show benefit was only 12.  That is, of 12 patients taking a statin one of them will see benefit in preventing a major cardiovascular event like a heart attack or stroke over the roughly 10 years of measurement.  That’s pretty good.  For the low risk, non-zero group scoring 0-100 the NNT was 100.  One hundred patients would need to take a statin for roughly 10 years to see one patient avoid a major event.  That’s not very good.

If you’re not sure of your cardiovascular risk or want to know your calcium score, set up an appointment with your Trinity DPC physician and we’ll sort it out with you and help you decide the best course of action for your own good health.  Call us at 244-1800 or 980-8551 to schedule your visit.

statins and CAC

Impact of Statins on Cardiovascular Outcomes Following Coronary Artery Calcium Scoring | JACC: Journal of the American College of Cardiology
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