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Statin Use During Ischemic Stroke Hospitalization Is Strongly Associated With Improved Poststroke Survival

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Statins reduce infarct size in animal models of stroke and have been hypothesized to improve clinical outcomes after ischemic stroke. We examined the relationship between statin use before and during stroke hospitalization and poststroke survival. METHODS: We analyzed records from 12 689 patients admitted with ischemic stroke to any of 17 hospitals in a large integrated healthcare delivery system between January 2000 and December 2007. We used multivariable survival analysis and grouped-treatment analysis, an instrumental variable method that uses treatment differences between facilities to avoid individual patient-level confounding. RESULTS: Statin use before ischemic stroke hospitalization was associated with improved survival (hazard ratio, 0.85; 95% CI, 0.79-0.93; P<0.001), and use before and during hospitalization was associated with better rates of survival (hazard ratio, 0.59; 95% CI, 0.53-0.65; P<0.001). Patients taking a statin before their stroke who underwent statin withdrawal in the hospital had a substantially greater risk of death (hazard ratio, 2.5; 95% CI, 2.1-2.9; P<0.001). The benefit was greater for high-dose (>60 mg/day) statin use (hazard ratio, 0.43; 95% CI, 0.34-0.53; P<0.001) than for lower dose (<60 mg/day) statin use (hazard ratio, 0.60; 95% CI, 0.54-0.67; P<0.001; test for trend P<0.001), and earlier treatment in-hospital further improved survival. Grouped-treatment analysis showed that the association between statin use and survival cannot be explained by patient-level confounding. CONCLUSIONS: Statin use early in stroke hospitalization is strongly associated with improved poststroke survival, and statin withdrawal in the hospital, even for a brief period, is associated with worsened survival.

Authors: Flint AC; Johnston SC; et al.

Stroke. 2012 Jan;43(1):147-54. Epub 2011 Oct 20.

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