Statins may reduce stroke risk for people with heart rhythm problems

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Atrial Fibrillation, or AFib, is a heart condition that makes you more likely to have a stroke. People with AFib have irregular heartbeats, which can cause blood clots that may travel to the brain and cause a stroke.

Strokes can be life-threatening or lead to serious disabilities. A new study has shown that taking statins—a type of medication usually used to lower cholesterol—could help reduce the risk of strokes for people with this heart condition.

What Did the Study Find?

The study, led by Jiayi Huang from the University of Hong Kong, looked at more than 51,000 people who were newly diagnosed with AFib between 2010 and 2018. Some of these people were taking statins, and some were not.

Over an average follow-up period of about five years, the researchers found that people who had been taking statins were less likely to have a stroke compared to those who hadn’t been taking the medicine.

The numbers tell us that statins made a significant difference: people taking the medication had an 83% chance (compared to 100% for those not taking statins) of avoiding what’s called an “ischemic stroke,” which is the most common type of stroke caused by a blood clot.

People taking statins were also a bit less likely to have other kinds of strokes or what’s known as a “transient ischemic attack,” which is like a mini-stroke.

Here’s the kicker: the longer people took statins, the lower their risk. Those who had been on statins for six years or more had an even lower risk of having a stroke compared to those who took the medication for a shorter period.

What Does This Mean for Patients?

If you have AFib, this study suggests that taking statins could lower your chances of having a stroke. This is a big deal because strokes related to AFib can be especially severe and have a high risk of happening again.

According to Huang, the lead researcher, these findings should encourage doctors to consider statins as a way to prevent strokes in patients with newly diagnosed AFib.


Statins, commonly used to control cholesterol, could be a game-changer in stroke prevention for people with Atrial Fibrillation.

If you or someone you know has AFib, it might be worth discussing with a doctor whether statins could be a useful part of the treatment plan. After all, preventing a stroke can save a life.

If you care about stroke, please read studies about how to eat to prevent stroke, and scientists find a breakfast linked to better blood vessel health.

For more information about health, please see recent studies about how Mediterranean diet could protect your brain health, and wild blueberries can benefit your heart and brain.

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