Statins reduce stroke risk in people with heart rhythm disorders

Credit: Unsplash+.

A large-scale study on over 50,000 patients with atrial fibrillation revealed a lowered risk of stroke and transient ischemic attack in those who started taking statins within a year of diagnosis.

The findings were presented at the European Society of Cardiology’s EHRA 2023 congress.

Atrial fibrillation, the most prevalent heart rhythm disorder worldwide, raises the risk of stroke fivefold.

While anticoagulants are usually prescribed to prevent strokes, they do not entirely eliminate the risk.

Statins, often used to lower cholesterol and decrease heart attack and stroke chances, may provide additional protection.

About the Study

The University of Hong Kong’s Jiayi Huang led the study, investigating the connection between statin use and stroke incidence, as well as transient ischemic attack in patients with atrial fibrillation.

Researchers identified all newly diagnosed atrial fibrillation patients between 2010 and 2018 using the Hong Kong Clinical Data Analysis and Reporting System.

Patients were divided into two groups: statin users (who received statins for at least 90 consecutive days within a year of diagnosis) and non-users.

The primary endpoints were the combined occurrence of ischemic stroke or systemic embolism; hemorrhagic stroke; and transient ischemic attack.

Patient follow-ups continued until any primary outcomes occurred, the patient’s death, or the study’s conclusion on October 31, 2022.


Of the 51,472 newly diagnosed atrial fibrillation patients, 11,866 were statin users and 39,606 were non-users.

The study found that during a median follow-up of five years, statin users had a significantly lower risk of all primary outcomes compared to non-users.

Specifically, statin use was associated with a 17% reduced risk of ischemic stroke or systemic embolism, a 7% reduced risk of hemorrhagic stroke, and a 15% reduced risk of transient ischemic attack.

Furthermore, long-term statin use offered greater protection than short-term use.

Patients using statins for six years or longer had a 43% lower risk of ischemic stroke or systemic embolism, a 44% reduced likelihood of hemorrhagic stroke, and a 42% reduced risk of transient ischemic attack.

These associations remained consistent, regardless of whether patients were on anticoagulant medication and irrespective of the type of anticoagulant used.


Huang pointed out that the data support statin use to prevent stroke and transient ischemic attack in newly diagnosed atrial fibrillation patients.

Given the high risk, often fatal or disabling consequences, and recurrent nature of ischemic strokes in atrial fibrillation patients, these findings could have significant clinical implications.

However, further research is needed to confirm these findings and determine the precise mechanisms by which statins might confer this benefit.

If you care about stroke, please read studies about the key to surviving a stroke, and scientists find better high blood pressure treatment for people with stroke.

For more information about stroke, please see recent studies about how the Mediterranean diet could protect your brain health, and the MIND diet could slow down cognitive decline after stroke.

Copyright © 2023 Knowridge Science Report. All rights reserved.