Semin Vasc Med 2003; 03(4): 419-424
DOI: 10.1055/s-2004-817691

Copyright © 2003 by Thieme Medical Publishers, Inc., 333 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001, USA. Tel.: +1(212) 584-4662

Early Statin Therapy in Acute Coronary Syndromes

Scott Kinlay, Peter Ganz
  • Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
03 February 2004 (online)


Patients who survive an acute coronary syndrome of unstable angina or myocardial infarction are at much higher risk of a recurrent event within the following year than patients with stable coronary syndromes. Statin therapy is justified for many of these patients, not only for long-term benefit but also to reduce the risk of recurrent events within weeks of the primary event. The mechanisms that underlie this benefit are probably related to improvements in endothelial function, a decrease in vascular inflammation, and reduced prothrombotic factors. The effects of statins may be mediated by cholesterol reduction, cholesterol-independent effects (particularly decreasing isoprenoids), and mechanisms that are independent of inhibiting 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG CoA) reductase. Observational studies consistently show an early reduction in mortality with statin therapy started before discharge from hospital after an acute coronary syndrome. Several randomized controlled trials also support an early benefit of risk reduction from statins started during the hospital admission for an acute coronary syndrome. Early statin therapy is also related to improved compliance and use of statins several years after a coronary event. Thus, early statin therapy may improve both early and long-term secondary prevention efforts.


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