The beneficial effect of statins treatment by stroke subtype


Exuperio Díez-Tejedor, Stroke Unit, Departament of Neurology, Hospital Universitario La Paz, Paseo de la Castellana 261, 28046, Madrid, Spain (tel.: +34 917277444; fax: +34 913581403; e-mail:;


Background and purpose:  Statins have shown some protective effect after ischaemic stroke in observational studies. However, this effect has never been assessed by etiological subtypes.

Methods:  Observational study using data from the Stroke Unit Data Bank from consecutive patients with cerebral infarction. Variables analyzed: demographic data, cardiovascular risk factors, treatment with statins at stroke onset, stroke severity, stroke subtype, in-hospital complications, length of stay, and functional status at discharge (modified Rankin Scale).

Results:  A total of 2742 patients were included, 1539 were men. Mean age was 69.17 years (SD 12.19). Of these, 281 patients (10.2%) were receiving statins when admitted. The logistic regression analyses showed that previous treatment with statins was an independent predictor for better outcome at discharge among all strokes (OR, 2.08; 95% CI, 1.39 to 3.1) as well as for the atherothrombotic (OR, 2.79; 95% CI, 1.33 to 5.84) and lacunar strokes (OR, 2.28; 95% CI, 1.15 to 4.52) after adjustment for demographic data, risk factors, previous treatments, stroke subtypes, stroke severity, in-hospital complications and length of stay. This benefit was not observed either in cardioembolic or in other etiology strokes.

Conclusions:  Previous treatment with statins is an independent factor associated with good outcomes in patients with ischaemic stroke. Atherothrombotic and small vessel strokes show the greatest benefit.