Statins could lower atrial fibrillation risk in seniors with hypertension, research suggests

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Cholesterol lowering medications known as statins might help prevent new-onset atrial fibrillation in elderly adults with hypertension, a new study reports.

The research team from Taiwan also found that a CHADS2 score -- a clinical prediction rule for estimating the risk of stroke -- could predict the preventive effect of statins among those studied.

Investigators used a Taiwanese insurance database to analyze the records of 27,000 people over the age of 65. Nine percent of the people in this group took statins. At the end of a nine-year follow-up period, more than 2,200 individuals developed atrial fibrillation. Results were presented last week in Boston at the Heart Rhythm Society's annual meeting.

Researchers, from Taichung Veterans General Hospital in Taiwan found that statins had reduced the risk of atrial fibrillation by 19% in patients with or without other medical problems, such as diabetes, stroke and kidney disease. Statins were found to be particularly helpful at preventing atrial fibrillation among people with a higher stroke risk.

Statins have been shown over the last several months to have protective benefits against influenza mortality, Alzheimer's and infections.

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