n Cardiovascular Journal of South Africa - High-dose atorvastatin therapy is required for significant improvement of endothelial function in heterozygous familial hypercholesterolaemic patients : cardiovascular topics

Volume 15, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1680-0745



This study evaluated endothelial dysfunction (ED) by measuring flow-mediated vasodilation (FMD) and for six months documented changes in ED, LDL-C levels and serum concentrations of inflammatory markers with high- and low-dose atorvastatin therapy. In 23 heterozygous familial hypercholesterolaemic (FH) patients, FMD, LDL-C and inflammatory markers (sVCAM-1, sICAM-1, E-selectin and highly sensitive C-reactive protein) were measured at baseline (untreated) and on atorvastatin 20 and 80 mg/day. In untreated patients, FMD was significantly reduced (mean &lt;u&gt;+&lt;/u&gt; SD = 3.09 &lt;u&gt;+&lt;/u&gt; 0.91%) compared with 10 normocholesterolaemic controls (8.71 &lt;u&gt;+&lt;/u&gt; 2.41%; &lt;i&gt;p&lt;/i&gt; < 0.01). FMD improved non-significantly with atorvastatin 20 mg/day (5.60 &lt;u&gt;+&lt;/u&gt; 1.17%), but showed a significant improvement (8.54 &lt;u&gt;+&lt;/u&gt; 1.11%; &lt;i&gt;p&lt;/i&gt; < 0.01) with atorvastatin 80 mg/day. LDL-C decreased markedly (-42.4%; &lt;i&gt;p&lt;/i&gt; < 0.0001) on 20 mg/day and decreased further (-48.6%; &lt;i&gt;p&lt;/i&gt; < 0.05) on 80 mg/day. FMD improvement, however, did not correlate with LDL-C reduction. No significant changes occurred in any inflammatory markers. We concluded that ED was present in untreated FH patients and improved significantly on high-dose atorvastatin. There was no correlation between the changes in FMD and LDL-C, suggesting either a LDLC- independent effect on ED, or that a marked reduction in LDL-C is required to normalise ED in FH.

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