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Johns Hopkins Cardiologists Advocate Statin Use For Primary Prevention Of Heart Disease

Posted Apr 11 2012 5:53pm

Writing the first commentary for a new feature in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), called Viewpoint, Johns Hopkins cardiologists make the case for why a 55-year-old man with a 10 percent estimated risk of heart attack over the next 10 years should be offered statin medication. They were invited to debate a professor who argues against prescribing statins for “primary” prevention—for those who have not had a cardiovascular event, such as a heart attack—even though they may be considered at “intermediate” risk because of elevated cholesterol or other factors. Readers are then invited to vote on which viewpoint they endorse.

The commentary advocating use of statins for primary prevention was written by Johns Hopkins cardiologists Michael J. Blaha, M.D., M.P.H., Khurram Nasir, M.D., M.P.H., and Roger S. Blumenthal, M.D., a professor of medicine and the director of the Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease at Johns Hopkins. The opposing viewpoint is presented by Rita Redberg, M.D., professor of medicine and director of women’s cardiovascular services at the University of California, San Francisco.

In their commentary, the Hopkins cardiologists note the importance of lifestyle changes, such as a healthy diet and exercise, in lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease. “As always, lifestyle change is the first-line therapy.” They add, “However, if this patient’s cholesterol level remains abnormal, despite sustained attempts at lifestyle optimization, statin therapy should be considered, with the goal of reducing CHD (coronary heart disease) risk.”

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