Statin Use and Ventricular Arrhythmias During Clinical Treadmill Testing


  • Dr. Hadley was an employee and shareholder of Cardiac Science Inc., when he participated in this study. He is now retired.

Address for correspondence: Frederick E. Dewey, M.D., 851 Roble Avenue #3, Menlo Park, CA 94025, USA. Tel: 650-862-7210; Fax: 650-852-3473; E-mail:


Background: Premature ventricular complexes (PVCs) during exercise are associated with adverse prognosis, particularly in patients with intermediate treadmill test findings. Statin use reduces the incidence of resting ventricular arrhythmias in patients with coronary artery disease; however, the relationship between statin use and exercise-induced ventricular arrhythmias has not been investigated.

Methods and Results: We evaluated the association between statin use and PVCs in 1,847 heart-failure-free patients (mean age 58, 95% male) undergoing clinical exercise treadmill testing between 1997 and 2004 in the VA Palo Alto Health Care System. PVCs were quantified in beats per minute and frequent PVCs were defined as PVC rates greater than the median value (0.43 and 0.60 PVCs per minute for exercise and recovery, respectively). Propensity-adjusted logistic regression was used to evaluate the odds of developing PVCs during exercise and recovery periods associated with statin use. There were 431 subjects who developed frequent PVCs during exercise and 284 subjects had frequent recovery PVCs. After propensity score adjustment, subjects treated with statins (n = 145) had 42% lower odds of developing frequent PVCs during exercise (odds ratio [OR] 0.58, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.37–0.93) and 44% lower odds of developing frequent PVCs during recovery (OR 0.56, 95% CI 0.30–0.94). These effects were not modified by age, prior coronary disease, hypercholesterolemia, exercise-induced angina, or exercise capacity.

Conclusions: Statin use was associated with reduced odds of frequent PVCs during and after clinical exercise testing in a manner independent of associations with coronary disease or ischemia in our study population.