, Volume 8, Issue 4, pp 337-342

Statin therapy for coronary heart disease and its effect on stroke

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Coronary heart disease (CHD) and stroke share common risk factors and are the leading causes of death and disability in the United States. Although the impact of elevated cholesterol on stroke risk has been disputed, numerous trials using 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG CoA) reductase inhibitors (ie, statins) in patients with CHD have demonstrated a significant reduction in stroke incidence as a secondary endpoint. It is likely that statins are pleiotropic in stroke prevention, providing benefits through both cholesterol reduction and cholesterol-independent mechanisms. In this article, we review the relationship between cholesterol and stroke, randomized trials of statins in patients with CHD and high risk for CHD that have assessed stroke risk, and the putative mechanisms of stroke prevention by statins.