Intensive statin therapy can lower the risk of recurrence of major cardiac events in patients with acute coronary syndromes. This could be related to the ability of statins to increase levels of Endothelial Progenitor Cells (EPCs), which were demonstrated to be favorably associated with a better prognosis and post-infarction left ventricular remodeling in patients with ischemic heart disease.
AIM OF THE STUDY: First, to evaluate, in a randomized clinical trial, the effect of an intensive vs a standard treatment with statins on EPC mobilization in patients undergoing a successful primary or rescue percutaneous coronary intervention; secondary, to evaluate whether left ventricular remodeling could be influenced by statin therapy through EPC mobilization.
METHODS: Forty ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) patients undergoing a successful primary or rescue PCI were randomized to receive atorvastatin 80 mg immediately after the admission (Intensive Treatment, IT) or atorvastatin 20 mg from the day of the discharge (Standard Treatment, ST). CD34+/KDR+ EPC count by flow cytometry and left ventricular function by 2-D Echo were measured on admission, at discharge and at 4 months follow up.
RESULTS: We found that EPC count was similar in the two groups of patients both on admission and at discharge. At follow up, however, EPC count was higher in patients randomized to IT compared to patients randomized to ST (7.59+/-7.30 vs 3.04+/-3.93, p=0.04). However, LV volumes, ejection fraction and wall motion score index were similar in both groups.
CONCLUSIONS: An intensive statin treatment after primary or rescue PCI is associated with a higher EPC count at follow up as compared to standard treatment. This beneficial effect did not translate in an improvement of LV function.