Br J Nurs. 2012 Feb 23-Mar 7;21(4):214-20.
Wilding PM. Rheumatology Infusion Nurse, Lincoln County Hospital Rheumatology Unit, Lincoln. peterwilding at hotmail.com
Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer in the UK, causing more than 50 000 premature deaths per year, at a cost of over £30 billion to the economy (British Heart Foundation, 2010). Reducing this burden is a priority of the Government and health professionals (Department of Health, 2000).
The aim of this paper is to inform and update nurses on four aspects.
- Firstly, to examine a more accurate test than cholesterol to predict cardiovascular risk that used C-reactive protein (CRP), an inflammatory marker, called the Reynold's Risk Score.
Use of this score reclassified almost half of women, and one-fifth of men, into lower or higher risk categories, more accurately compared to conventional tools (Ridker et al, 2007; Ridker et al, 2008b).
- Secondly, to highlight a potential change to the indications for statin-therapy; an indication for those who ordinarily would not receive a statin: healthy middle-aged adults with normal or low cholesterol, but elevated CRP. This includes discussion of the JUPITER trial and its sub-analyses. This large, multicentre, double-blind randomized, placebo-controlled trial in apparently healthy men over the age of 50 years and women over 60 years, with normal or low cholesterol but elevated CRP, demonstrated significant benefit. Rosuvastatin 20 mg per day compared to a placebo reduced myocardial infarction and stroke by half, and reduced venous thromboembolism by almost half (Ridker et al, 2008a; Glynn et al. 2009; Everett, et al, 2010).
- Thirdly, to discuss the pleiotropic effects of statins, which include reduction of CRP (Ridker et al, 2008a), increases in endothelial repair cells (Spiel, et al, 2008), alteration of clotting factors (Glynn, et al, 2009), and enhancement of vitamin D metabolism (Yavuz et al, 2009).
- Fourthly, to discuss evidence that the pleiotropic effects of statins may be attributable to the vitamin D effect. This paper therefore evaluates the evidence suggesting that vitamin D supplementation may attain the same benefit as statins (Grimes, 2006), in addition to reducing statin associated side-effects when co-administered (Ahmed et al, 2009).
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