If You Have Aortic Aneurysm, You Might Benefit from Statins
When it comes to patients being observed for small aortic aneurysms, a benefit of statin therapy is not clearly proven. But it’s worth a discussion with your doctor.
Contributor: Sean Lyden, MD
Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy
If you have coronary artery disease, carotid artery disease or peripheral vascular disease, using statins is clearly a benefit to your health. In those cases, statins lower your risk of future stroke and heart attack.
We do know that patients with abdominal aortic aneurysms have heart disease. A landmark study done at the Cleveland Clinic found coronary artery disease in 31 percent of patients needing aneurysm repair.
However, when it comes to patients being observed for small aortic aneurysms, the benefits of statin therapy has not been clearly proven. Some evidence does support statins for aortic aneurysm treatment, but it depends on a variety of factors. It’s worth a discussion with your doctor.
Some studies suggest that statins used for aortic aneurysm improve the function of the endothelium, the cells lining the inside of the blood vessels, and decrease inflammation of the aortic wall. Inflammation in the aortic wall is thought to be one of the ways in which aneurysms form and grow.
Also, some studies of large populations of patients suggest that adding statins to treatment seems to slow the growth of aneurysms.,
A study with 150 patients from the Netherlands found that over a three-year period, statin use slowed aneurysm growth rate by more than one millimeter each year. A large 2008 study in the Netherlands with 5,057 patients also found lipid-lowering treatment and initial small abdominal aortic aneurysm diameter were associated with lower aneurysm growth rates.
However an Australian study of 652 patients undergoing aneurysm surveillance found no association between statin prescription or LDL “bad cholesterol” concentration with abdominal aortic aneurysm expansion.
If you have been diagnosed with abdominal aortic aneurysm, check with your doctor. The addition of statins will lower your heart attack and stroke risk if you also have heart, carotid or peripheral artery disease.
Thirty percent of people with abdominal aortic aneurysm also have heart disease. It also may add benefit by aortic reducing growth rates.