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Science

New study suggests people taking statins are less likely to have abnormally enlarged hearts

The researchers say a large heart chamber is a sign of stress and weakness.

Statins not only lower cholesterol but can improve the structure and function of the heart, research has shown.

People taking the drugs were less likely to have abnormally enlarged hearts, a sign of stress and weakness, scientists said.

Investigators used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to scan the hearts of 4,622 British participants, nearly 17% of whom were on statins.

Compared with untreated individuals, patients prescribed the medicines had lower left ventricular heart chambers containing 2.4% less muscle mass. Their lower left and right ventricular volumes were also reduced.

Heart.
(yodiyim/Getty Images)

Lead scientist Dr Nay Aung, from Queen Mary, University of London, said: “People using statins were less likely to have a thickened heart muscle (left ventricular hypertrophy) and less likely to have a large heart chamber.

“Having a thick, large heart is a strong predictor of future heart attack, heart failure or stroke, and taking statins appears to reverse the negative changes in the heart which, in turn, could lower the risk of adverse outcomes.

“It is important to note that in our study, the people taking statins were at higher risk of having heart problems than those not using statins, yet they still had positive heart remodelling compared to the healthier control group.”

The findings were presented at EuroCMR 2017, a conference on heart imaging taking place in Prague, Czech Republic.

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